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Musk Backs Billionaire Developer Caruso for LA Mayor

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(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk is backing billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso for mayor of Los Angeles, a rare political endorsement by the world’s richest man.

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“Los Angeles is fortunate to have someone like Rick Caruso running for mayor. He’s awesome,” Musk wrote on Twitter Friday.

A dozen candidates are on the June 7 primary ballot for mayor, with Caruso and US Representative Karen Bass leading in polls. If no candidate gets more than 50%, the two top vote-getters face off in November. Caruso was a long-time Republican who registered as a Democrat in January before entering the non-partisan mayoral race.

Caruso, 63, is making his first run for political office. He’s campaigning to tackle LA’s surging homelessness and crime, vowing to create 30,000 beds for the unsheltered while hiring 1,500 additional police and 500 sanitation workers to clean up the streets.

He’s flooded media with ads, lending his campaign $33.5 million of his $3.7 billion fortune built from developing luxury malls, apartments and hotels.

Musk, now a resident of Texas, lived in Los Angeles for several years, putting his four homes in the posh Bel Air district on the market in 2020 after tweeting that he planned to unload “almost all physical possessions.”

He endorsed Democrat Andrew Yang in the 2020 race for president, joking in a tweet that the businessman would be “our first openly goth president.”

Musk’s fortune has slid almost $43 billion this year to $227.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as Tesla stock has tumbled. Last week, his wealth fell to $192.7 billion, the lowest since Aug. 26.

Musk laid out his political approach in another tweet Friday:

“It is rare for me to endorse political candidates,” he wrote. “My political leanings are moderate, so neither fully Republican nor Democrat, which I am confident is the case for most Americans. Executive competence is super underrated in politics – we should care about that a lot more!”

The chief executive officer of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink has become more vocal about politics in the past year. After clashing with Democrats over billionaires’ taxation, he declared last month that he will vote Republican and that the Democrats, who he previously voted for, are the party of division and hate. He has said that if he completes the acquisition of Twitter Inc., he’ll reverse the ban on former President Donald Trump. In recent days, he’s also asked his more than 96 million Twitter followers who do they trust less, politicians or billionaires, and he commented on gun rights and the Second Amendment.

He can be grateful to Democrats. Musk tweeted “Thanks Mr. President“ Friday after NASA picked SpaceX to land the next Americans on the moon.

Read More: Billionaire LA Mayor Hopeful Urges State to Refund Huge Surplus

(Updates with Musk’s wealth in eighth paragraph)

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