Rep. Karen Bass considering Los Angeles mayoral run after progressive encouragement, good poll numbers

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Progressive U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said Tuesday she was “seriously considering” a run for Los Angeles mayor. 

Just weeks ago, Bass, who serves the Los Angeles area, told the L.A. Times she was focusing on her job in Congress and didn’t plan to campaign for mayor. 

Bass changed her mind following a weeks-long online campaign from local progressives asking her to run and a poll that came out last week that showed her as a potential frontrunner. 

The congresswoman received about 27% of support in the survey by a public opinion research firm, far more than any of the other potential and mostly lesser-known candidates included in the poll, according to City News Service. 

“I have been overwhelmed and humbled by people pushing for me to do this, and I will say that I am seriously considering it,” Bass said told the LAist on Tuesday. It “was not something I had thought about before — I was planning to run for reelection. I am evaluating the situation now.”

Bass is in her sixth term in Congress and is known for being outspoken on progressive issues but also for her bipartisanship, for which she received an award in 2009. She’s been working across the aisle on police reform, although she has spoken out against the Defund the Police movement. Bass is also the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. 

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., talks to reporters Sept. 23, 2020. (Getty Images)

Last year, she was considered as Biden’s vice presidential running mate before Kamala Harris was chosen. 

Bass started her career as a community activist in L.A. and has called the city’s homeless problem a “humanitarian crisis” and said the political rhetoric around it could tear the city apart, according to the LAist.

Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, an ally of Bass, announced weeks ago he didn’t plan to run and told Los Angeles Magazine that L.A. would be “fortunate” to have her leadership if she chose to campaign for mayor. 

Current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was nominated in July by longtime ally President Biden to become U.S. ambassador to India.

Garcetti’s term ends in December 2022. If confirmed as ambassador, the city council would select an interim mayor to finish his term. 

Other candidates vying for the mayoralty include Councilman Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and businessman Mel Wilson, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

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