Biden touts lend boost to ‘soon-to-be Miss Mayor’ Karen Bass in Los Angeles
President Joe Biden urged Los Angeles voters to stick with the Democrats in the November elections, promising that his party is best equipped to wrest control of the cost of living crises plaguing voters ahead of the midterms.
Appearing alongside Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Biden reiterated his support for the congresswoman in her campaign for Los Angeles mayor, addressing her as “soon-to-be Miss Mayor.”
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The race is dividing the staunchly blue city as polling indicates that her opponent, a former Republican, may be closing the gap with voters. The winner will succeed Democrat Eric Garcetti, a two-term mayor Biden nominated to be ambassador to India more than 15 months ago.
“She loves this city,” Biden said of Bass, before addressing her directly. “You’ve always worked to expand opportunity and a better future for all our children, our families, for this city, and all around the country. And you never leave anybody behind.”
Whether Biden’s star power is enough to put Bass over the edge isn’t clear.
Similar to other races across the country, the election in Los Angeles has been dominated by rising crime and rent and housing prices surging upwards. The city also faces a homelessness crisis.
With weeks to go until the November elections, Biden and Democrats are struggling to persuade voters that they are best equipped to handle the economy. Polls show that inflation is weighing on Americans as the Biden administration struggles to control rising prices that they once billed as transitory.
Yearly inflation ending in September came in at 8.2%, and core inflation rose to 6.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy prices, was at the highest level since the early 1980s. Both figures rose above projections.
Speaking Thursday at the LA Metro Westside Transit Project, Biden touted his sweeping infrastructure bill and other legislative wins totaling trillions of dollars that he said would have real-world effects on voters’ daily lives. Los Angeles has the second largest public transit system in the country, serving a region with some 10 million people, or nearly a fourth of California residents, with the Westside Project funded in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
But the president warned that if Republicans take office, federal support for transit spending or reduced healthcare costs could end.
“They want to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act,” Biden said, a bill that includes a prescription drug price cap, among other benefits. The president also charged that Republicans would make working and middle-class people pay higher taxes.
“We’ve got an election in a month. Voters have to decide,” Biden said.
The president also said that if Republicans win in November, “inflation is going to get worse.”
Biden has sought for months to tamp down price hikes but has struggled. Energy prices have lately ticked upwards again after Gulf oil producers announced a production cut that the White House sought to postpone until closer to Election Day.
Biden acknowledged the concerns in Los Angeles but said Thursday’s consumer price index report “showed some progress.”
“But the price of gas is still too high, and we need to keep working to bring it down,” the president said, promising to “have more to say about that next week.”
He said earlier that fighting inflation and lowering prices is his top priority.
Later, Biden will attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the tony Brentwood neighborhood.
Biden’s appearance with Bass comes in the final weeks of the Los Angeles mayor’s race, where polling suggests the congresswoman is rapidly losing ground with the city’s registered voters.
Bass is facing off against a former Republican, now Democrat, in the race, local businessman Rick Caruso, who has pushed millions of dollars into door-knocking efforts and television advertising to drive voters to the polls. A surge of ads helped propel the businessman in the June primary, forcing Bass into the general election runoff.
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A Caruso win would indicate a sizable shift in the city’s staunchly blue politics.
Los Angeles is also reeling from leaked audio that featured Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez making racist remarks. Martinez announced her resignation this week amid mounting backlash.