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Candidates For LA Mayor And LA County Sheriff Faced Off In Back-To-Back Debates

Large text over a night time city image reads Debate Night Los Angeles. FOX 11, Los Angeles Times, Univision 34, KPCC 89.3 FM, LMU and Skirball Cultural Center are also listed in smaller font toward the bottom of the graphic image.
Rep. Karen Bass and developer Rick Caruso will debate as well as incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva and former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.
(Courtesy Fox 11)
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The candidates for Los Angeles Mayor and Los Angeles County Sheriff will face off in back-to-back debates Wednesday at the Skirball Cultural Center.

It’ll be the first one-on-one debate between Rep. Karen Bass and developer Rick Caruso, who are competing to be L.A.’s next mayor. In the sheriff’s race, incumbent Sheriff Alex Villanueva will face his challenger, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna.

Both debates follow a flurry of news (and drama) on the campaign trails.

What to watch for: The competition for both seats has been tense and heated in recent weeks.

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Among the topics likely to surface: The mayoral candidates’ ties to USC, which was the original host of the debate before senior administrators pulled out.

Caruso has criticized Bass for accepting a scholarship worth about $95,000 from USC while she served in Congress and then supporting legislation that favored the university.

And Bass has accused Caruso of lacking transparency during his time as chair of the USC Board of Trustees when the university was investigating decades of alleged sexual assault by former campus gynecologist George Tyndall. In his role as chair, Caruso helped USC reach $1 billion in legal settlements.

The sheriff’s race debate comes a week after County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl’s home was searched by sheriff’s investigators as part of an investigation into possible corruption involving a contract between L.A. Metro and a local nonprofit. Plus, last week, an L.A. Times investigation found that dozens of Villanueva’s donors received permits to carry guns for questionable reasons, including some who received the permits more quickly than the average wait time.

Late Tuesday, California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta stripped the Sheriff's Department of control of the investigation into Kuehl and others.

Who’s moderating: The debates will be moderated by FOX 11 anchor Elex Michaelson and L.A. Times columnist Erika D. Smith. Univision anchors Gabriela Teissier, Oswaldo Borraez and KPCC/LAist civics and democracy correspondent Frank Stoltze will participate in the questioning.

Where to watch: The events will be streamed live on, and, and broadcast on Fox 11 and KPCC 89.3 FM. The sheriff candidates debate starts at 6 p.m. and the mayoral debate begins at 7 p.m.

Some context: Are you unclear what the L.A. County Sheriff's role actually is? You're likely not the only one. Our voter guide breaks it down and catches you up on the key issues facing the L.A. County Sheriff's Department.

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