Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet endorsed a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, but former President Barack Obama did 10 days before the General Election on Nov. 8.
Citing her “proven leadership, integrity, and record of getting things done,” Obama’s endorsement of Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA-13) for mayor of Los Angeles can be seen on a video released by her campaign.
Bass was an early supporter of Obama’s presidential run and campaigned for him in 2007.
“I am asking Los Angeles to vote for Karen Bass for mayor. I know Karen. She was with me in supporting my campaign from the beginning, and Karen Bass will deliver results,” Obama stated when making his endorsement official. “Make no mistake, there is only one proven pro-choice Democrat in this race. Karen has always been on the right side of the issues we care so deeply about.”
President Obama’s support of Bass follows endorsements from President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Alex Padilla, Sen. Bernie Sanders and more than 250 other endorsements from community leaders, labor unions and elected officials since the June primary.
Bass is the only candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party and Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County Action Fund. Her leadership has also earned her the endorsements of the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión.
“I am humbled and honored to have the support of President Barack Obama,” Bass said in a letter. “President Obama brought us faith in our government and hope for the future of our country. It is impossible to overstate the impact of his work leading this country for eight scandal-free years advancing social and economic justice in the nation and the world.”
While Gov. Newsom has yet to endorse a candidate running for mayor of Los Angeles, he has endorsed other state and local Democrats running for office.
Statewide, Newsom is endorsing Dr. Shirley Weber, California’s first Black Secretary of State. In a local Los Angeles race, he is endorsing Black educator and community organizer Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles) who is running for State Senate District 28 against fellow Democrat and Black civil rights attorney Cheryl C. Turner.
Bass is in a tight race with billionaire and Republican-turned-Democrat Rick Caruso.
Responding to a question on Fox 11’s “The Issue Is” show, Newsom said “I have deep respect for the both of them and have not gotten involved in this race.”
Newsom’s political advisers, a firm called Bearstar Strategies, are also chief consultants for the Caruso’s campaign.
In the 2018 gubernatorial primary, Bass endorsed former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa over Newsom. But, August 2021, Bass, members of the group calling itself Women Against the Recall (WAR), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-37), held a news conference to openly support Newsom in the recall election held Sept. 14, 2021.
The Black Women Organized for Political Action PAC (BWOPA-PAC), California Black Women’s Collective PAC and Black women leaders throughout the state called out Gov. Newsom’s reluctance in declaring support for Bass.
“He stated that he supports Black Women, but his administration doesn’t demonstrate that he wants us at his decision-making table. He selectively supports Black women candidates even when they have overwhelming support from the party leaders and our community like in the case of Congressmember Bass,” the coalition said in a “open letter” in October.
Bass is running to be the first Black woman mayor of the second-largest city in the country. She stated that “President Obama’s support underscores the contrast in this race and inspires” her campaign. She has stated her plans are to solve homelessness, make the city of Los Angeles safer, and create affordable housing.
“She has devoted her life to serving her community, from working in the emergency room to saving California from a budget crisis to delivering relief during the COVID pandemic as a member of Congress,” Obama stated.