US Rep. Karen Bass planning to run for Los Angeles mayor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, a prominent figure in national Democratic politics who was on President Joe Biden's short list when he was considering a vice presidential pick, is planning to run for Los Angeles mayor, a person familiar with her plans said Friday.

Bass' entry into the race would immediately reshape the 2022 contest that already has attracted a slew of candidates. She also could provide historical milestones as the city's first female and second Black mayor.

The first Black mayor, Tom Bradley, also was the city's longest-serving. He ran LA from 1973 to 1993.

The person with knowledge of Bass' plans spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, saying the congresswoman is expected to announce her candidacy next week. “My sense is that it is a go,” the person said.

Bass, 67, was a physician's assistant and community organizer who became the first Black woman speaker of the state Assembly in 2008. She is close to Biden as well as to her fellow Californian who leads the House — San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi. Bass, serving her sixth term in the House, previously headed the Congressional Black Caucus.

Bass grew up in the Los Angeles area she now represents. Her district includes the historically black neighborhoods of South Los Angeles and Crenshaw, along with the University of Southern California and mid-city section of LA.

A statement issued by Bass spokesman Zach Seidl did not confirm or deny that she would run, only that she is considering entering the race. He said with the city facing the duel crisis of homelessness and the pandemic “she does not want to see these two issues tear the city apart. Los Angeles has to come together.”

She would take charge of a deeply troubled city that has been trying to deal with not only an out-of-control homeless crisis but soaring housing costs, spiking crime rates and its notorious traffic.

The city's current mayor, Democrat Eric Garcetti, is barred by law from seeking a third term. He has been nominated by Biden to serve as ambassador to India.

Those seeking to replace Garcetti include city Councilmen Kevin de Leon Joe Buscaino, City Attorney Mike Feuer and business leader Jessica Lall.