September 29, 2022

Political party preferences play heavily in LA Mayoral, CD-11 races

Bass, Darling enjoys Democratic Party ID as Caruso, parking outside looking inside.

By Nick Antonicello

In what is officially a nonpartisan campaign for mayor of Los Angeles as well as a seat on the LA City Council, the two Democratic progressives are making gains with voters and residents as they highlight their Democratic credentials in this race. to succeed outgoing Mayor Eric Garcetti and outgoing Council Member Mike Bonin.

For U.S. Representative Karen Bass and Venice tenants’ rights attorney Erin Darling, they have done an effective job of mustering Democratic Party support at the county and city levels, clearly the overwhelming choices of organizational liberals, progressives, unionized households and activists that resulted in a plethora of support from institutional clubs, as evidenced by the overwhelming preference of West LA Democrats who endorsed Darling with more than 80% of the vote.

With Bass and Darling literally running down the same philosophical path as the running mates of sorts, while in contrast Caruso’s effort has stalled for weeks, barely maintaining the 35% threshold we saw during the June 7 primary which is its high point to date. with voters who seem to care about a candidate’s loyalty and affiliation on the issues most important to them.

For example, on the issue of reproductive rights and choice, 72% of respondents in a recent poll preferred a pro-choice candidacy, even though Caruso, who is also Catholic and pro-choice. In that same poll, Bass had a positive name ID of 49-22 while Caruso was upside down with a 22% favorable and 40% unfavorable balance. A new poll released last week by UC Berkeley Governmental Studies and sponsored by the Los Angeles Times shows that mayoral candidate Karen Bass has increased her lead over rival Rick Caruso by 12 points, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. 1,746 registered voters were surveyed by UC Berkeley government studies between Aug. 9 and Aug. 15 and Bass’s lead grew from the 7% lead Bass had over Caruso in the primary in June to a double digit advance.

In Caruso’s case, a sometimes-Republican and Independent Democrat tried to talk about issues first and philosophical preferences second, just as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stood out from the shadow of his predecessor. Rudy Giuliani as his successor to become an independent and then eventually a Democrat in an ill-advised race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

For most party types, Bloomberg was simply never seen as a party member worthy of a presidential nomination.

And in the case of Rep. Karen Bass and her long resume of party service in the California Legislature, Speaker of the General Assembly, long service in the House of Representatives, high consideration for a cabinet position at Biden’s level and even the shortlist for vice president, his mayoral bid has the national support of the president as well as vice president Kamala Harris.

Because the entire structure of the Democratic Party is all-in for the congresswoman who easily withstood a $43 million spending barrage and attack ads from Caruso, who was running for office for the first time.

There are those who say that if not for Caruso’s obscene expenses on June 7e Primary, MP Karen Bass would actually be Mayor-elect Bass, and that race for all intents and purposes is already dead when she arrives!

For recent polls and results from the June primary here in Venice indicate a voter preference for Bass, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and CD-11 challenger Traci Park for City Council.

In the case of Bass, who led Caruso 43-36% citywide, Bass performed even better here in Venice beating the billionaire developer 46.88%-37.69%. In the polls closest to the ocean here in Dogtown, Bass led 766-576 and in my riding, Bass beat Caruso 682-584.

While Villanueva beat Long Beach leader Robert Luna 30.66% to 25.85% countywide, Villanueva widened his lead in Venice from 33.74% to 25.1% for Luna. With Luna once again the Democratic Party’s preference, almost all of the main eliminated opponents support her candidacy, making a re-election of Villanueva problematic and perhaps unlikely.

Villanueva has become a local favorite thanks to his strong opposition to Mike Bonin’s Venice Beach encampment policies that captured national attention in the summer of 2021 at the height of the pandemic.

In the heated race to replace LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica, West Hollywood council member Lindsey Horvath easily garnered about 70% of the vote in approval from West LA Democrats while beating the senator Californian and longtime political icon Robert Hertzberg 35.57% to the senator’s 21.9% in Venice who finished behind fellow senator Henry Stern.

Districtwide, Hertzberg led Horvath in the June primary 31.08% to Horvath’s 27.74%.

In the most competitive of the three races, CD-11 found Erin Darling, fellow senior attorney Traci Park, with 34.67% to Park’s 28.97% in the June primary.

However, Park reversed those numbers in Venice by a score of 34.64% to Darling’s 32.85%, despite Darling being a local product and a longtime resident who played Little League Baseball and surfed. on the beaches of Venice as a teenager and even today. Husband and father of a three-year-old son, many believe Darling is safe to increase his numbers in a place where he is much better known locally while Park, a former Republican, has in fact moved outside the CD -11 for about four months in 2021. in Mono Lakes, Calif., to re-enroll in Venice in late April of that year before announcing his candidacy in July.

Park had massively outplayed Darling around 10-1 in the primary contest, and Darling was the last candidate to enter the race and despite this disadvantage, passed Park comfortably in the final primary results!

Park’s Achilles’ heel, despite having a considerable head start, is that his standing with organizational Democrats has been difficult to date, as Darling is a strong supporter of Bass, while it’s unclear who Park supports in the Los Angeles mayoral race to this day.

Park’s lack of Democratic Party or community credentials seemed to be the difference in Darling’s surprise primary performance that stunned many observers.

Many assume Park will end up endorsing Caruso since she was an early supporter of Councilman Joe Buscaino before he quit the race to endorse the billionaire, $100 million yacht owner.

Park countered that Darling was a member of the more progressive and environmental California Green Party, but does not dispute the fact that she is a registered Republican and accepted independent spending funding from the California apartment lobby, which traditionally opposes rent control and rent stabilization. However, Park reiterated that she supports rent control in a recent ZOOM forum.

Park also accepted campaign contributions from several high profile Republicans such as Bill Simon, Jr of the Pacific Palisades who ran for governor in 2002 as a GOP nominee. Simon was a long-time trustee of The Heritage Foundation, an American conservative think tank based in Washington, DC, primarily focused on public policy. The foundation played a leading role in the conservative movement under President Ronald Reagan, whose policies were drawn from Heritage’s Mandate for Leadership policy study.

In a ZOOM interview tonight with the Venice Neighborhood Council’s Homeless Committee (, Darling called his run with Park a “battle for the soul of the Westside”, which reinforces protections and offers legal advice in instead of skyrocketing rents for average people essential to a rapid response to the homelessness that kills five people a day. Darling pledged to build an “out-of-the-camps pipeline that must continue” if we are to defeat the most pressing issue facing voters today.

“It’s the wealthiest neighborhood in all of LA. We can provide a real solution. A room with a door. We can get permanent funding. We need a concerted effort, a focused approach. We We need to be good neighbors and step up this process.

“I will not issue blank checks. I am in favor of accountability monitoring. I will hold bureaucracies accountable. Project management is crucial to our overall success,” Darling explained of the encampment crisis.

In a previous interview, Darling pointed out that he “was never a Republican” and considered his opponent one of the most right-wing candidates in the middle of all of Los Angeles in 2022.

Park, who has positioned herself as a “law and order” candidate with a touch of populism, has strong support from many collective bargaining groups representing law enforcement who at one point endorsed Mike Bonin as the LAPPL in 2013 and again in 2017.

Darling was proud of his Democratic and progressive values, but highlighted his ability to work with people and individuals he disagrees with.

Darling has landed endorsements from the LA Democratic Party, the Los Angeles Times, the Sierra Club, California Senator Ben Allen, LA Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and newly elected Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor.

“They all serve and represent Venice. I want to join them in this local effort to lead the issue of homelessness with best practices. »

“The status quo does not work. We have the talent and the resources. We must multiply the solutions. It is a profound opportunity. I will provide policy initiatives and avoid partisan chatter. I will visit the encampments and offer not only empathy, but an exit and a return.

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian who covers the various races for Los Angeles Supervisor, Mayor and CD-11 City Council. Got a preview of the race? Contact him by email at [email protected]