UPDATE, Wednesday, 3:23 PM PT: Organizers said that more than 300 people attended an event at Bad Robot Productions for Karen Bass, as polls show she faces a tight primary race against developer Rick Caruso.
Katie McGrath and J.J. Abrams addressed the crowd at the event, and Norman Lear, 99, was among the attendees and co-chairs. Other co-chairs included Lyn Lear, Damon and Heidi Lindelof, Nina Shaw, Christy Haubegger and Matt Johnson.
The money race between Bass and Caruso has heated up in recent weeks. According to campaign records, Caruso donated an additional $3.25 million to his campaign, while the Los Angeles Police Protective League gave a $1.8 million infusion to its committee opposing Bass.
Last week, Jeffrey Katzenberg donated $600,000 to an independent committee that is backing Bass. The committee, Communities United for Bass for LA Mayor 2022, announced on Wednesday that it was spending $1.07 million for a TV ad buy in a 30-second spot that attacks Caruso for his past support of Republicans and past opposition to abortion.
Other recent contributions directly to Bass’ campaign came from Marti Noxon, Octavia Spencer and Jennifer Garner.
PREVIOUSLY: Jeffrey Katzenberg has donated $600,000 to an independent committee backing Karen Bass for Los Angeles mayor, as polls show the California congresswoman facing a tight race against billionaire developer Rick Caruso.
The contribution was made earlier this month to Communities United for Bass for Mayor 2022. Katzenberg was among the initial donors to the committee, with a $250,000 contribution to help get the committee started in early March. Other contributions have come from J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, who each gave $125,000, as well as other industry figures including Barry Meyer and Jennifer Garner. The committee also is backed by the SEIU. The Los Angeles Times first reported Katzenberg’s recent donation.
Katzenberg was among the people who helped convince Bass to run last summer, the candidate told Vanity Fair. At the time, there was concern among a number of Los Angeles Democrats that the field needed a star candidate — and Bass fit the bill. President Joe Biden considered her a vice presidential possibility in 2020, as she has served in Congress since 2011 and is the former speaker of the California State Assembly.
Bass, meanwhile, is holding an event on Tuesday at Abrams’ Bad Robot, with co-chairs including McGrath, Shonda Rhimes, Norman and Lyn Lear, Damon and Heidi Lindelof, Nina Shaw, Christy Haubegger and Matt Johnson.
But Caruso’s entrance into the race in February changed the dynamics of the race, creating a genuine rivalry for the front-runner spot. Caruso has been able to use his own personal fortune to blanket the Los Angeles airwaves in a campaign that has focused on homelessness and City Hall corruption. The Los Angeles Times reported in late April that Caruso had spent more than $23 million, compared to $800,000 for Bass. A poll last month shows the two candidates just about tied. Among the Hollywood figures backing Caruso are Netflix’s Ted Sarandos and UTA’s Jay Sures.
The field competing in the June 7 primary has narrowed in recent days. Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino dropped out last week and endorsed Caruso, while Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer exited the race on Tuesday and threw his backing to Bass. Also running is Councilman Kevin de Leon.