Obama endorses Karen Bass for L.A. mayor; she’s a career politician with no political roots
By Eric Levitz and Chris Megerian, Reuters and The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES – President Barack Obama endorsed Karen Bass on Saturday, calling her a “fierce fighter” and his pick for Los Angeles mayor. The president’s aides said the endorsement would give Bass a boost in her bid to unseat Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also a Democrat.
A career politician with few political roots, Bass had long been considered the top choice of the party’s far-left wing. She earned the backing of the Obama campaign shortly after it selected her as a running mate for the ticket.
Bass is a former political organizer who has faced questions over her liberal ties, including a recent dispute over a former campaign official. She lost the primary to Villaraigosa in the 2010 vote.
Bass will serve out the final two years of Villaraigosa’s term.
Villaraigosa, a three-term mayor, said in a statement that he supports Obama’s endorsement of Bass, adding: “I look forward to working with President-elect Obama to ensure that all Los Angeles residents have the opportunity to thrive and contribute their best.”
The Democratic Party was more unified in endorsing Bass as their pick for mayor. The party named her “a fighter who would do anything to protect her community.” It added that she had a “proven record of fighting for the people” and is “a friend and ally of Mayor Villaraigosa himself.”
Bass’s selection has drawn a protest from some supporters of Villaraigosa, who have urged him to veto the nomination and go head-to-head against her.
Obama has previously endorsed several Democrats for mayor, including Antonio Villaraigosa (left) and Eric Garcetti (right).
Villaraigosa was seen by some as the most likely to win the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.
The endorsement comes as Democrat Bill de Blasio, who came in a distant fourth in last month’s mayoral run, and the party are considering alternatives to Bass.
“Karen Bass has been a strong advocate of the needs of this region and the people she serves, and she is a proven