Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who has been running a struggling campaign to become mayor, announced Thursday that he has dropped out of the race and is endorsing for mayor his former opponent, billionaire developer Rick Caruso.
Buscaino had been among Caruso’s harshest critics on the campaign trail, but had a platform that was often the closest in line with Caruso’s views. On Thursday, he said he now plans to work with Caruso to “make Los Angeles cleaner and safer for all.”
“Rick and I agree on the playbook to solve the city’s pressing issues,” Buscaino said. “Today’s decision did not come easy, but the future of Los Angeles is my priority. “
Developer and mayoral candidate Rick Caruso (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
While Buscaino has been in the race longer than Caruso, and raised a significant amount of money for his campaign, he polled poorly among voters.
In a recent poll, only 1% of voters surveyed said they would elect Buscaino as mayor, putting him behind front-runners Rep. Karen Bass, Caruso, Councilman Kevin De Leon and City Attorney Mike Feuer — even community activist Gina Viola, who has significantly less name recognition than the councilman.
Political watchers in the district weren’t too surprised by Buscaino’s decision to bow out.
“Literally, as soon as I heard Caruso was entering the race, I thought that’s the end of Joe,” said Doug Epperhart, president of the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council.
“The chit-chat around the table has been that if he’s smart he’ll drop out, endorse Caruso and wait for an appointment to something lucrative like the Board of Public Works,” Epperhart said, or the city’s Police Commission.
Running for mayor of L.A., Epperhart said, “is one of those things for politicians that looks like a great idea — until it isn’t.”
Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino (File photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
Buscaino and Caruso have similar stances on public safety. Buscaino, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, has been a strong supporter of the police department and pushed back against calls for reducing its funding.
Caruso, meanwhile, has earned the support of the powerful the Los Angeles Police Protective League, representing LAPD’s rank-and-file officers. The union has created a political action committee aimed at opposing candidate Karen Bass. The union’s committee recently disclosed to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission that it spent nearly $2 million to air television and digital ads attacking Bass.
Buscaino has pushed for quicker and more sweeping steps to remove homeless encampments throughout Los Angeles, and had tried unsuccessfully to put a measure on the ballot that aimed to do that.
Caruso praised Buscaino on Thursday in a statement, saying that he has “tremendous respect for Joe and his deep commitment to the people of Los Angeles.”
“I’m honored to have his endorsement and look forward to his counsel on issues like homelessness and criminal justice. Los Angeles is suffering and working with Joe, I know we can clean up LA,” he said.
Former Chief Deputy City Attorney Tim McOsker said: “I can appreciate …read more
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News
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