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Mayoral candidates Bass, Caruso turn up heat as Election Day draws near

Mayoral candidates Bass, Caruso turn up heat with weeks left until election
Mayoral candidates Bass, Caruso turn up heat with weeks left until election 03:28

With just 45 days remaining until the General Election in November, Los Angeles mayoral candidates Karen Bass and Rick Caruso have begun to turn things up a notch 

Currently behind in the polls, 43% to Bass's 31% (24% undecided), Rick Caruso has unleashed a new ad campaign targeting Bass, recalling a speech she gave nearly a decade ago at the opening of the Church of Scientology's headquarters in Los Angeles. 

During the attack ad, footage of the speech airs where then-assemblywoman Bass calls the grand opening an, "exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference."

In 2020, Bass disavowed her support for the church during the Presidential Campaign, when she was said to be on a shortlist of candidates to run alongside current President Joe Biden. 

In response to the airing of the attack ad on Monday, Bass's team released a statement that said in part:

"Rick Caruso is a lifelong, anti-choice Republican and this misleading attack ad is straight out of the Republican playbook. Everybody knows Karen Bass condemns Scientology. LA knows Karen Bass shares our Democratic values and has always been on our side."

Political experts believe that with so little time left until Election Day, both candidates are expected to increase the amount of attacks targeting their competitor. 

"Anytime you're trailing in the polls for an office that you're seeking you're gonna do whatever you can," said Sarah Sadhwani, an assistant professor politics at Pomona College. "It's pretty characteristic to see attack ads at this stage, there was a great piece in the LA Times today actually talking about this. The two of them clearly have known each other for quite some time, that they have a past and somewhat of a friendship perhaps, but that they recognize that now is the time for the gloves to come off."

During last week's debate, the two took several shots at each other, bringing up various moments from the other's past. 

Despite the double digit deficit in late-August's polls, Sadhwani it's still too early to count Caruso out, especially with his incredible wealth as an asset. 

"He has access to a vast amount of personal wealth, so he clearly has shown that he wants to be Mayor of Los Angeles. There's no end to the amount of funds that he's gonna be willing to spend," she said.

In her response to Monday's ad, Bass also mentioned the fact that Caruso had spent $40 million dollars on the primary elections alone — more than the entirety of the other candidates combined. She called the budget "out of step with LA voters."

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