Karen Bass Is Reportedly Considering a Run for Mayor of L.A.

Insiders say the veteran congresswoman may soon throw her hat into the ring for the city’s top job

Congresswoman Karen Bass is mulling a run for mayor of Los Angeles, the Washington Post reports. According to the report, Bass has yet to make a firm decision, but a veteran civic player who is close to her tells Los Angeles that the 37th Congressional District veteran is seriously considering throwing her hat into the ring for the highest government post in the City of Angels.

One factor to which the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus is paying close attention is the pending decision by a well-known Black officeholder to enter the race or not. For months there’s been speculation that L.A. City Councilman and former L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was weighing a run, but so far there’s been little in the way of an overt sign that the South L.A. Democrat is putting together a campaign of his own.

Bass, who was re-elected to her sixth term representing the 37th Congressional District in November 2020, has reportedly said she will not run against Ridley-Thomas.

The one-time community organizer-turned-congresswoman built up national name recognition last year when she received serious consideration as vice president on the Joe Biden ticket, a post that ultimately went to then Senator Kamala Harris. Bass’s name was also widely discussed as a possible political appointment by Governor Gavin Newsom to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Biden-Harris triumphed in November.

The same inside source tells the Los Angeles that a group of local power players approached Bass about of run because they were underwhelmed with the current crop of candidates, which includes Councilman Joe Buscaino and City Attorney Mike Feuer, and a list of potential suitors for the top job, such as City Council members Kevin de León, Ridley-Thomas, and Nury Martinez.

Los Angeles has never elected a Black woman mayor, but neither had San Francisco, St. Louis, or Chicago until the successful elections of London Breed, Tishaura Jones, and Lori Lightfoot, respectively. For Bass, a rising star in the Democratic Party whose name is being floated as a possible a future Speaker of the House or cabinet member, leading America’s second largest city would be a profile booster.

According to the Washington Post report, published this afternoon, “[s]ome Democrats see Bass as strong potential candidate” but “others voiced skepticism that she would ultimately enter the contest.”

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