Rick Caruso’s Latin Quarter

He’s trailing Karen Bass, but can The Grove owner turn the tide by winning over Hispanics?

Rick Caruso didn’t do quite as well as he’d hoped in the Democratic mayoral primary. Despite his $40 million war chest and roster of celebrity supporters (like Gwyneth Paltrow and Snoop Dogg), Karen Bass whomped him by seven points. 

So the shopping mall mogul has been looking for other paths to the mayor’s mansion, and one of those roads leads straight into the Latin quarter. According to a source close to the campaign, Caruso is pouring millions into Latino voter outreach programs, has wrangled an endorsement from comedian George Lopez, and has brought into his fold seasoned political operative Daniel Lopez, a former senior advisor to Latino mayoral candidate Kevin de León, who lost to both Bass and Caruso in the June primary.

It may prove to be a savvy strategy: Latinos make up almost 50 percent of the population of Los Angeles. Caruso already has a good chunk of that vote (34 percent of Latinos voted for him in the primary, with Caruso finishing well ahead of Bass and De León).

In politics, though, more is always better. And the former Republican-recently-turned-Democrat (like, right before he declared his candidacy) clearly believes his conservative political profile would be a good fit for people who, despite four years of Republicans like Donald Trump demonizing them, have lately been fleeing the Democratic Party. Caruso simply needs to get them to flee in his direction.

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This story is featured in the September 2022 issue of Los Angeles

(Photographed by Beau Grealy)