Businessman Rick Caruso and U.S. Rep. Karen Bass were in a virtual dead heat Tuesday night in the historically expensive race for mayor of Los Angeles, though the first returns remain far from definitive in what is expected to be a close contest.

Initial returns gave Bass a slight lead, only to have the second round of results push Caruso to a razor-thin advantage.

Rep. Karen Bass speaks during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Rick Caruso takes the stage during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

Rick Caruso takes the stage during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Karen Bass speaks during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

Rep. Karen Bass speaks during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Alex Padilla speaks on election night in Los Angeles.

Sen. Alex Padilla speaks on election night in Los Angeles.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Sheriff candidate Robert Luna, middle, greets supporters on election night in Long Beach.

Sheriff candidate Robert Luna, middle, greets supporters on election night in Long Beach.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks to supporters during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva speaks to supporters during an election night rally in Los Angeles.

(Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Robert Luna, middle, is photographed with supporters during election night in Long Beach.

Robert Luna, middle, is photographed with supporters during election night in Long Beach.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Sheriff Alex Villanueva at an election night party in Los Angeles.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva at an election night party in Los Angeles.

(Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell speaks with supporters at an election night party in Hollywood.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Council candidate Hugo Soto-Martinez with supporters

Los Angeles City Council candidate Hugo Soto-Martinez gathers with supporters at an election night party in Atwater Village.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch OFarrell takes pictures with supporters

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell takes pictures with supporters in a photo booth at an election night party in Hollywood.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Supporters at Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso's election night party in Los Angeles.

Supporters at Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso’s election night party in Los Angeles.

(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Supporters of City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell watch news coverage on a big screen

Supporters of Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell watch news coverage during an election night party in Hollywood.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A mariachi band performs during Robert Luna's election night party in Long Beach.

A mariachi band performs during Robert Luna’s election night party in Long Beach.

(Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times)

Times Photography Staff

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