Councilman Joe Buscaino drops out of Los Angeles mayoral race, backs businessman Rick Caruso

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Councilman Joe Buscaino announced Thursday that he is dropping out of the Los Angeles mayoral race and endorsing billionaire developer Rick Caruso.

“Rick and I agree on the playbook for solving the city’s pressing problems,” Buscaino said in a statement. “Today’s decision was not easy, but the future of Los Angeles is my priority. Together, we will make Los Angeles cleaner and safer for everyone.”

Buscaino, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, launched his candidacy for mayor on Feb. 8, campaigning on a plan to clean up the city and end homeless encampments.

During his campaign, he said if elected he would report on the city’s existing programs to address homelessness, which means consequences for those who refuse aid and for elected officials who don’t. don’t get results.

“If people who are in unsafe encampments refuse to move to a safer place, the options are to get treatment, to go to drug addiction programs,” Buscaino said April 25. “As a last resort, we must have an arrest or citation on the table. We haven’t arrested a single soul for being homeless.”

In a poll released last month, Caruso held a 1 percentage point lead over fellow candidate Rep. Karen Bass.

Caruso’s strong polls at the time came as he flooded the TV and digital markets with millions of dollars worth of ads, while Bass had yet to air TV commercials. Bass’s campaign released its first television ad on Monday.

“I have tremendous respect for Joe and his deep commitment to the people of Los Angeles,” Caruso said in a statement Thursday. “I am honored to have his support and look forward to his guidance on issues such as homelessness and criminal justice. Los Angeles is hurting and working with Joe, I know we can clean up LA.”

According to the UC Berkeley Institute of Government Studies poll co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, the top issue influencing voters was homelessness, cited by 61% of likely voters.

The primary for the mayoral election will take place on June 7, with the top two facing each other in the November 8 election.

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