President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris endorsed Rep. Karen Bass for mayor of Los Angeles on Tuesday, lending the Democratic Congresswoman significant national support.
The endorsement essentially throws the weight of the White House behind Bass, solidifying her standing as the Democratic Party’s pick. Bass is vying with Republican-turned-Democrat businessman Rick Caruso to lead America’s second-largest city.
“We are eager to continue to partner with her on innovative strategies to reduce homelessness and increase public safety and prosperity,” Biden and Harris said in a joint statement. “Karen Bass has our friendship, and she has earned our respect through her leadership in Congress on crime prevention strategies, effective and fair policing, and the welfare of children and families.”
The background: Bass has built political ties to both Biden and Harris during her years in Congress. She and Harris both represented California — Harris in the Senate — and they both live in Los Angeles. She was also on Biden’s vice presidential short list. While Bass ultimately lost out to Harris, the vetting process may have benefited Bass by boosting her visibility.
The White House has worked with Bass on criminal justice as she shepherded a policing bill through the House. While the measure stalled in the Senate, Biden praised Bass’s work when he signed a subsequent executive order that amended use-of-force standards and banned no-knock warrants for federal law enforcement, among other changes.
What’s next: Bass finished seven points ahead of Caruso in the primary. Neither of them managed to win a majority in a crowded field, which means they will go head-to-head on the November ballot.