Billionaire real estate mogul Rick Caruso, who ran for mayor of Los Angeles in 2022 as a Democrat after years of being a Republican, has pledged to throw his support behind Democrats to defeat Republican candidates in California in 2024, according to Politico.
Rick Caruso, the founder of his eponymously named real-estate company, who has a net worth of $5.3 billion, lost the 2022 Los Angeles mayoral election to Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of California in a closely fought campaign, which saw him lead in the first round of voting. Following his loss, Caruso — who was a registered Republican prior to 2011 and briefly from 2016 to 2019 before switching parties — told Politico that he would spend his own money to elect moderate Democrats to the House in 2024, placing him at odds with several Republican incumbents whose seats were deemed crucial to win by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“We’ve got to get things moving and get out of this ridiculous constant fighting and everybody kicking sand in each other’s face in the sandbox,” Caruso said. “[I’ll] [s]tick with the central theme of getting moderates in the House.”
Caruso has long been a political donor and given money to Republican groups and candidates in California, according to OpenSecrets.org
Caruso has contributed the maximum $26,400 to the California House Majority Fund, a group run by Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, who is the Democratic caucus chair, Politico reported. Caruso has also allegedly met with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Democratic Rep. Suzanne DelBene of Washington, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Caruso has also said that he supports President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign. “There’s no other choice,” he told Politico, adding that “I am going to lean in on all of it.”
Caruso’s history as a Republican was a key point of criticism for Bass during the mayoral election, with Bass arguing that Caruso had merely switched parties without changing his views to a more left-wing position. Caruso, meanwhile, ran on a campaign that targeted crime, drug use and large-scale homelessness in the city — which some conservative commentators likened to a Republican campaign, and which was endorsed by Elon Musk.
Among many of Caruso’s properties in the Los Angeles area is the Grove, a prominent open-air shopping center. Caruso spent $104 million on his mayoral campaign, with most of the money being his own, according to Politico, and has not ruled out a future bid for public office as a Democrat.
“We have our entire majority because we won in California. We picked up those House seats over two cycles,” said McCarthy in a conference call in August, in which the Daily Caller News Foundation participated. He specifically highlighted the seats held by Republican Reps. John Duarte of the 13th district, David Valadao of the 22nd district and Mike Garcia of the 27th district as being key seats where GOP candidates won by narrow margins that needed to be retained in 2024.
The Republican Party of California did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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