Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, is planning to run for mayor of Los Angeles in the 2022 election, it was reported Friday.
The Los Angeles Times reported the news Friday morning, citing three people familiar with Bass’ plans.
Bass has been facing public pressure to run for mayor during recent weeks, and on Aug. 23, a California-based public opinion research firm released a poll that found that more than a quarter of a sample of the city’s Democrats supported Bass against current and potential candidates for mayor in the 2022 election.
If Bass were to be elected mayor, she would be Los Angeles’ first female mayor and only the second Black mayor, after Mayor Tom Bradley, who led the city from 1973 to 1993.
“She’s a national leader in Congress — a job that has no term limits,” Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D-Los Angeles, tweeted Wednesday about a potential run from Bass. “Her running for mayor would be the greatest demonstration of love and commitment to the city I’ve ever seen … and we need it.”
Bass would not be the first sitting U.S. House of Representatives member to be elected mayor of Los Angeles, but she would be the first since 1953, when Rep. Norris Poulson was elected to lead the city. Then-reps. James Roosevelt, Alphonzo Bell and Xavier Becerra lost campaigns for mayor in 1965, 1969 and 2001, respectively.
Bass served as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2019 to 2021. In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, she was considered as vice president for then-Democratic candidate President Joe Biden before he picked then-Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA.
Bass represents California’s 37th Congressional District, which encompasses Los Angeles neighborhoods west and southwest of downtown including Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West L.A., Mar Vista and parts of Westwood, as well as the incorporated cities of Culver City and Inglewood. Prior to serving in the House of Representatives, she served as speaker of the California State Assembly, where she was a member from 2004 to 2010.
Along with Bass, the current and potential candidates included in the Aug. 23 poll were former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner, City Attorney Mike Feuer, Council President Nury Martinez, businessman Rick Caruso, and Councilmen Kevin de Leon, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Joe Buscaino.
Of the group, Buscaino and Feuer were the only ones who had announced a run for mayor at the time the poll was released, but de León jumped into the race on Sept. 21. Ridley-Thomas and Council President Nury Martinez have both said they will not run for mayor in 2022.
About 27% of Democrats polled said that if the election were held Friday, they would vote for Bass.
“A plurality is undecided, and the race is wide open, but Bass is the only potential candidate for mayor who can claim a real base of support,” according to a summary of the survey of 803 Los Angeles voters, which was conducted between July 29 and Aug. 5 by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.
More than one out of five (22%) of all people surveyed said Bass was their first choice among the candidates, and 8% ranked her second. Bass was the only potential or current candidate who received double-digit first-choice support.
The pollsters identified that Bass’ advantage over the rest of the potential candidates comes partly from progressives and liberals, with 34% of progressives and 25% of liberals responding that they would vote for her if the election was held Friday. She also had the advantage of being the best known among the candidates and leads with Black Angelenos and people on the Westside and in South Los Angeles.
Generally, the poll indicated that about 70% of voters are either very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a woman for mayor, and 69% are very likely or somewhat likely to vote for a person of color to head the city.
The person who commissioned the poll was not publicly identified, but a representative for the public opinion research firm said the individual is not a politician.