The focus in the US midterm elections may rightly be on the races for the Senate and House of Representatives, but it is also the time for a host of local elections, of which none is more hotly debated in Hollywood than the Los Angeles mayoral poll.
Necessitated by the departure of Eric Garcetti, who’s US President Joe Biden’s nominee for Ambassador to India and is still awaiting Senate confirmation, the mayoral contest sees six-term US Congresswoman and Democrat Karen Bass pitted against real estate billionaire, and Republican-turned-Democrat, Rick Caruso.
Caruso, who enjoys a slight edge in a dead-heat race dominated by the city’s problem of homelessness and eyebrows raised by his $100 million campaign machine, was given a big shout out by pop star Katy Perry, a loyal Democrat who had performed for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Katy Perry posted a voting-booth photo on Instagram revealing that she cast her vote for Caruso, according to ‘Deadline’. “l am voting for a myriad of reasons (see the news) but in particular because Los Angeles is a hot mess,” wrote Perry in the post, which instantly drew such a barrage of criticism that Perry had to disable comments.
In a lengthier post in support of Caruso, “Avengers” star Chris Pratt, according to ‘Deadline’, said: “I’ve lived in LA for over 20 years. It’s been great to me. In that time I’ve seen what many residents here have seen, the city’s gradual decline into pain and disarray. If you live here, you know what exactly I am talking about.
“I don’t normally support political candidates. But in this election, there’s too much to lose.
“If you’re an LA voter, I urge you to vote for @rickcaruso. He’s a builder. He knows how to get s*** done. He’s the guy for our city.” Pratt’s sentiments were shared by his mother-in-law, Maria Shriver, television news celebrity and former wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
She tweeted: “This race is super tight and every vote matters. If you want Los Angeles to be different than it is today, the choice is clear with @RickCarusoLA. Change is critical to the city’s future. It’s up to us – let’s go!” Shriver’s daughter (and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s), Katherine Schwarzenegger, an author of self-help books, is married to Pratt.
Caruso’s previous endorsements include Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, Gwyneth Paltrow, Snoop Dogg, Scooter Braun and Jessica Alba, reports ‘Deadline’. Musk had tweeted in June: “Los Angeles is fortunate to have someone like Rick Caruso running for mayor. He’s awesome.”
Netflix boss Ted Sarandos recently issued a letter outlining his reasons for backing the developer. “The entire machine of the Democratic Party had aligned for a candidate that is part of the very system that is failing this city,” wrote Sarandos.
Sarandos, of course, was right. Caruso’s opponent, Congresswoman Bass, has the support of Barack Obama, US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Her showbiz supporters include the rapper Common, Natalie Portman, John Legend, Jane Fonda, America Ferrera, singer-songwriter-rapper Aloe Blacc and Alfre Woodard, who shares with Regina King the record for the most number of Primetime Emmys won by an African-American actress.
Woodard tweeted: “Hey LA, it’s time to VOTE. I am on a two day bus tour w/ @kymwhitley [the comedienne] & [civil rights lawyer] @ArevaMartin talking to voters all over Los Angeles about why they should vote for @KarenBassLA.” She added: “BOYLE HEIGHTS thank you for your beautiful energy. We can do this if we work together! #KarenBassforMayor”
Former Walt Disney Studios chairman and co-founder with Steven Spielberg of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg has helped bankroll an independent expenditure committee to support Bass, contributing $1.85 million to the effort, according to Deadline. The initiative has also drawn donors such as Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, along with Westfield Property Management, Caruso’s shopping mall rival.
Katzenberg has been described as “one of Hollywood’s premier political kingmakers and one of the Democratic Party’s top national fund-raisers”. Last reported, Rick Caruso had a slim lead over Karen Bass, but the race was still too close to call.