Rick Caruso Switching Sides… Again?

Failed LA Mayor candidate funding Democrats

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Billionaire Developer Rick Caruso, who spent $104 million last year in his failed campaign to become mayor of Los Angeles, appears to be politically reinventing himself once again:  the former Republican donor and Trump appointee is now rebranding himself as a Democrat kingmaker.

And maybe thinking about being a king – or at least a mayor or governor – himself.

Recently, Caruso pledged to spend an undisclosed sum in 2024 to defeat five California Republican members of Congress. 

“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 told Politico’s Christopher Cadelago and Melanie Mason of his plans. He will “(S)tick with the central theme of getting moderates in the House,” Caruso said.  “I am not out to support extremists or, frankly, ideologues.”

Besides opening his checkbook, Caruso is reportedly making the Democratic rounds, hobnobbing in DC and trying to kiss and make up locally.

Prior to running for mayor as a Democrat, Caruso had been both a decline to state (independent) and a  Republican and a regular campaign contributor to GOP candidates and committees, nationally and locally. Over the years, Caruso has donated hundreds of thousands to Republican candidates, from George w. Bush to Mitt Romney to former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

“Rick Caruso has been a pro-life Republican his whole career until he decided to run for mayor,” tweeted Democrat consultant Bill Burton, the former deputy press secretary for President Obama. “So much so that Donald Trump appointed him to his economic team.” 

Caruso may find some of his more pro-business, tough(er) on crime positions not exactly welcome in many Democratic circles, which could hamper any attempt to run for anything.  

In other words, the checks will be welcomed by Democrats, the request to support any electoral ambitions may not.

The five congress members targeted also seems to raise uncomfortable questions.  Caruso in the past has been criticized for his alleged – and confirmed – treatment of members of minority groups.  He called Rep. Maxine Waters a “bitch,” which –  while it may or may not be accurate – was frowned upon by Black political leaders.

He was also criticized by a fellow USC trustee who felt he was dismissed and disparaged by Caruso for his background and tenuous command of the English language. 

“I strongly felt, I was discriminated, humiliated, embarrassed and singled out from the board the meeting because of my race and my knowledges of the facts” of the issue at hand, said Ming Hsieh according to USC Annenberg Media

Hsieh has donated $85 million to the school, endowed the USC Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering and established the Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering-Medicine for Cancer at USC.

Click here to the read full article in the California Globe

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