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L.A. Elections: Karen Bass, Hydee Feldstein Soto, and Lindsey Horvath Surge

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Though it may be too soon to call the results formally, uncertainty around three significant races in the 2022 Los Angeles elections is fading fast, with Hydee Feldstein Soto set to become the city’s first female and first Latina city attorney, Lindsey Horvath maintaining her lead over state Senator Bob Hertzberg in the race for an open Board of Supervisors seat, and mayoral candidate Karen Bass continuing what looks like a march towards victory.

Though Bass and rival Rick Caruso were locked in a dramatic 50-50 dead heat as the polls closed, the U.S. representative has been inching ahead, slowly but surely. As the Tuesday count showed the fifth straight updated vote totals in Bass’s favor, she is looking more and more likely to be the next mayor. 

The results are yet another testament to the power of mail-in ballots. The steady climb happening now, since Bass’s initial lag behind Caruso in vote tallies, closely parallels the June primary. Then, the real estate developer netted a 5% lead before mail-in ballots were counted, at which point Bass climbed ahead. 

For now, the Bass and Caruso camps are remaining restrained in terms of public declarations. Bass did, however, tweet her optimism and gratitude on Monday.

I am honored and grateful for the support we are continuing to see.

I am optimistic and looking forward to the next update.

— Karen Bass (@KarenBassLA) November 15, 2022

Caruso, meanwhile, last celebratory tweet was back on Friday, for Veterans Day—and his most recent election-related message was an announcement of cautious optimism. 

As predicted, this is a close race. There are hundreds of thousands of votes to count and as expected we are going to see different results each time. I continue to be cautiously optimistic about these numbers and look forward to the next series of results in the coming weeks.

— Rick J. Caruso (@RickCarusoLA) November 11, 2022

A Bass win would be historic, given the fact that she will be the first woman elected mayor of Los Angeles. Every one of the county’s five supervisors is a woman, yet L.A. has never had a female mayor.

Joining Bass in her surge ahead is Feldstein Soto, who was ahead of her opponent, Faisal Gill, by more than 85,000 votes in Tuesday’s update from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. This puts Feldstein Soto at a 57% to 43% advantage. And though ballots remain to be tallied, Feldstein Soto said in a statement, “the current vote count and the steady margins give our team the confidence that I will have the great privilege of serving as your next Los Angeles city attorney.” When the race is formally called, she will replace the termed-out City Attorney Mike Feuer.

The city attorney role is responsible for advising the mayor and City Council, as well as defending the city in litigation and bringing forward lawsuits on its behalf. Acknowledging this responsibility, as well as her historical run, Feldstein Soto noted, “My focus is on working quickly to organize the team and an agenda to reflect your vote of confidence.”

Homelessness and rooting out corruption are among her priorities, she said, and on her website, she makes a commitment to “use every resource” to provide access to competitive bidding and streamline approvals for housing. Regarding corruption, Feldstein Soto said she will shut down practices such as no-bid contracts, vote-trading, seat-switching, and appointments in exchange for political favors.

The surge her campaign saw was a bit of a surprise as Gill—who was endorsed by the likes of U.S. Congress members Ilhan Omar and Ami Bera—held a lead in the June primary, garnering 24% of the vote to Feldstein Soto’s 20%.

Meanwhile, West Hollywood City Council member Lindsey Horvath is also maintaining a steady lead as of the vote totals released Tuesday in the race for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Running against state Senator Bob Hertzberg, Horvath’s last vote tally showed a 10,982-vote lead over Hertzberg. This signified a widening gap compared to the 8,800-vote margin on Monday.

More than 600,000 ballots countywide are believed to still be outstanding from Tuesday’s election, although it’s unclear how many of them are from District 3. The open seat covers a majority of the San Fernando Valley, stretching from Westlake Village and Malibu to Calabasas, West Hills, Porter Ranch, San Fernando, Panorama City, and Northridge, while also stretching to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica. The district’s boundaries changed dramatically during the county’s most recent redistricting effort, giving it a larger swath of the Valley. The move drew the ire of some observers—including outgoing Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who said she felt the change gave Hertzberg an edge in the election, as he has represented the area in Sacramento.

Like Feldstein Soto, Horvath also lists the homelessness crisis as a top priority. “As a mayor and council member, I have taken action to successfully get 80% of my community’s unhoused population off the streets and into housing and services,” Horvath wrote in her official candidate statement. “As supervisor, I will get the bureaucracy out of the way, create accountability, and expand partnerships with experts who know how to help people off the streets and into supportive housing.”

Horvath said she helped spearhead an “intersectional approach” to homelessness in West Hollywood. She has called for more investment in mental evaluation teams that pair trained social workers with public safety officials responding to relevant calls for service while also committing to incorporating housing, services and community safety, and pushing for the production of transitional, supportive and long-term affordable housing. In addition to this, she is running as the only candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

The next update on the vote count is expected on Thursday. The results of the election will not be certified until early December and it could be weeks before we see a victor in the race for mayor and several other close contests.

City News Service contributed to this article.

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