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Rep. Karen Bass in Los Angeles, CA.

Mayoral candidate Rep. Karen Bass cheers at supporters from a double-decker bus after making a stop in Boyle Heights while touring the city on June 5, 2022, in Los Angeles. | Source: Gina Ferazzi / Getty

California Rep. Karen Bass and billionaire developer Rick Caruso are running neck and neck in Los Angeles’ first mayoral primary in nearly a decade. In the hours ahead of Tuesday’s primary election, the ballot appears to suggest that Bass may be running in the lead for the coveted seat.

New polling data suggests that support from Black voters could make all the difference.

According to the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, Black women voters are particularly rallying for the Democratic congresswoman to win. The voting bloc has shown a large amount of support for Bass’ campaign, which is good news for the politician since women are more likely to cast their votes during the electoral season.

Bass has managed to pull in the support of 38% of “likely voters” ahead of Tuesday’s primary, but Caruso still has a chance to edge the former Congressional Black Caucus chairperson. Currently, the wealthy real estate businessman has gained the support of 32% of likely voters, the data showed.

Conversely, Black men appear to be increasingly in favor of Caruso in comparison to Bass, which is odd given his commitment to hunker down on law enforcement throughout Los Angeles. If elected, the Republican turned Democrat said he planned to restore the Los Angeles Police Department budget and make misdemeanor crimes prosecutable. Black men could feel the unfortunate consequences that trickle down from Caruso’s policies if he wins the mayoral race.

Polling data found that 15% of Los Angeles residents are still undecided about the two candidates, which means Bass and Caruso may very well be heading toward a run-off election in November. Bass will need to pull a bit of support from Black men to help her make a significant gain against Caruso. In the past month, Bass has lost 26% of the support she had previously been enjoying from Black voters Her support from Black voters stood at 13% as of the end of May.

Bass’ record speaks for itself.

A prominent House member, Bass was re-elected in 2020 to serve her sixth term representing the 37th congressional District of California. Bass has spent her career-building criminal justice and police reform policies as a member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. She was on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s shortlist of picks to be his vice president. Bass has also served on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

If elected, Bass would become the first woman in Los Angeles’ history to be elected mayor. She would also become the second Black mayor to hold office in the city. The late Thomas Bradley served as the 38th Mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1993.

Currently, Bass is in the lead among registered voters with 37%, while Caruso trails with 33%. Tuesday’s vote will paint a clear picture of what lies ahead for both candidates, but Black voters might be the deciding factor for both parties.

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