Bass apologizes to Latin band after suggesting Caruso paid for their endorsement

Amid anger from leaders of a local Latin Democrat club, Rep. Karen Bass apologized on Friday for implying that the group was paid off by rival Rick Caruso in exchange for his endorsement in the race. Los Angeles City Hall.

Leaders of the Advance Democratic Club had earlier in the day called Bass to apologize for her remarks, which she made during a debate hosted by KNX News on Thursday.

“Accountability and transparency starts with me, and when I make a mistake, I own it,” Bass said in a statement to The Times. “I shouldn’t have said what I said. I sincerely apologize to Avance and its members.

Bass took aim at Avance during Thursday night’s debate, just after Caruso bragged about the endorsement he received from the group.

“How much did you pay for that?” Bass said, prompting Caruso to respond that she insulted the club.

Avance Democratic Club, which focuses on building Latino political power, was launched after Mayor Eric Garcetti was elected by several Garcetti aides, including his former chief of staff, Ana Guerrero.

The group, which has about 800 members, bills itself as the largest Latin club in Los Angeles County. It’s open to “all registered Democrats who support the Latino community and the Avance agenda,” according to Avance’s website.

After Bass’s remarks during the debate, Avance president Nilza Serrano and political director Lester Aponte defended the group and its endorsement.

Serrano also joined Caruso at an event on Friday to say Bass had “insulted” Avance.

“She insinuated that our club was for sale, and somehow our endorsement illegitimate. Well, I’m here to say that every candidate who seeks our endorsement plays by the same rules and has an equal chance of reaching out to our members and get their vote.

“Mr. Caruso did the job, and Miss Bass didn’t. It’s not fair to scapegoat us for the shortcomings of his organization,” Serrano said.

Caruso told reporters he was shocked by Bass’ remarks and that Latinos have been “inaudible for too long.”

“This organization was disrespected by the congresswoman, clearly disrespected,” Caruso said. “Call it that. She called them liars, didn’t she? – they couldn’t be trusted, they were paid, that somehow you can buy the Latino vote. That’s what she said up there.

Aponte, Avance’s political director, said in an interview that Caruso and Bass introduced themselves to Avance members at a meeting on September 29. Each candidate spoke for about three minutes and then someone spoke to them. Councilman Gil Cedillo spoke about Caruso, while Mark Gonzalez, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, spoke about Bass.

Aponte said about 100 people attended the meeting.

Advance club rules allow new members to join five days before the approval meeting. New members must pay their membership. Some other clubs may have longer windows stipulating that new members cannot participate in the approval process.

Aponte said he didn’t know if new members arrived at Caruso’s or Bass’s request.

Serrano said 85% of the vote was for Caruso.

When asked if Caruso donated any money to his club, Serrano said Avance hosted an event Sept. 22 to honor Mark Gonzalez and California Federation of Labor executive secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez. .

She said she asked several political candidates, including Caruso and Bass, as well as labor unions, to sponsor the event. Caruso donated $5,000, she said. Bass didn’t give any money.

Both Bass and Caruso are courting Latino voters after a primary that Bass won by 7 points. However, in Los Angeles neighborhoods with at least 80% Latino populations, Caruso won 34% of the primary vote and Bass 27%, according to the Times analysis.

The latest Times poll, conducted in September, showed Bass faring better than Caruso among Latinos who seem more engaged in the race and are more likely to vote. Still, Caruso is doing well with the demographics and has slightly higher favorability.

Times writers Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Benjamin Oreskes contributed to this report.

About Wanda Reilly

Check Also

Super PAC emerges to encourage DeSantis to run for president

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis may be playing coy on his presidential intentions, but a …