was widely expected to walk away with the race to become the next mayor of Los Angeles. The progressive former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus has endorsements from government unions, Democratic activists and Speaker
Then along came Rick Caruso—a onetime Republican, prominent city real-estate developer and philanthropist—and Ms. Bass is no longer a certain bet.
The race now is a clash of visions: the progressive ideologue vs. the liberal pragmatist. If no candidate wins a majority of votes in Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary, the top two finishers will face off in November’s general election.
Democrats have long controlled Los Angeles, as they do most other big American cities. But in the wake of the 1992
riots, voters elected Republican businessman
to re-establish public order and revive the city’s floundering economy.
A similar political moment is giving rise to Mr. Caruso’s campaign. Republicans make up only 13% of city voters, and many Democrats won’t consider voting for one. That’s no doubt one reason Mr. Caruso, 63, dropped his GOP affiliation when he last considered running for mayor, in 2011. Before announcing his current bid in February, he registered as a Democrat.
But unlike Ms. Bass, 68, he isn’t running a partisan campaign. He is promising to make government competent and solve the crime and quality-of-life problems that are driving away families and businesses. Homicide and car theft are on the rise. Robberies involving guns are a particular problem. According to Los Angeles Police Department data, such incidents through March 2022 were up 57% from 2020 and 60% from 2019. The city lost nearly 40,000 residents in 2021.
Mr. Caruso wants to add 1,500 police…
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