A Long Shot for James Running In a Democratic City?
Kevin James, a former conservative talk show host, and former prosecutor, is running for Mayor of Los Angeles to succeed Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. Although considered a long shot in a Democratic city and state in which 61% of voters endorsed President Barack Obama in the last election, James, if elected, would be the first openly gay mayor of Los Angeles.
Bill Carrick, a Democratic consultant advising City Council member Eric Garcetti, one of Mr. James’s Democratic rivals, states the challenge: “He has to both energize a shrinking base of Republican voters who are decidedly more conservative than the rest of the city’s electorate, at the same time he reaches out to the ultimate Democratic voters.
However, in an ABC 7-Survey USA poll,conducted January 12th through January 15th, found that James is the only candidate who is gaining in polls.
Republicans Eager to Rebuild Party
Republicans are hoping to get back in the game with James’s candidacy in the March 5th vote. John Weaver, a long-time adviser to Senator John McCain, Republican from Arizona, is now advising James and has raised $700,000 as of February 1st. Mr. Weaver has warned Republicans that “they are marginalizing themselves by moving to the right on issues like abortion, gay rights, and immigration. Since we stopped winning in California, we (Republicans) have not done well nationally.”
James has the support of, among others, Bring Hollywood Foundation, a community organization dedicated to fighting for producing incentives that will end the outflow of independent films and television industry jobs from California to other states.
What Kevin James Stands For
James is a fiscal conservative who supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Wendy Greuel, the city comptroller, is competing for the same votes in the San Fernando Valley. He wants to renegotiate the 5.6 percent raises due city workers next year if the city is still in a fiscal crisis. This former entertainment lawyer wants to delegate power to the neighborhood councils and reduce business taxation.
Currently, he serves on the AIDS Project Los Angeles Ambassador’s Council. From 1998 to 2000, he was the co-chairman of AIDS Project. Since 2010, he has been involved with LA Clean Sweep, a non-partisan grassroots citywide coalition of community groups and activists working for change at City Hall in Los Angeles.
Radio and Television:
Prior to the Mayoral campaign, James, 49, was radio host on KRLA AM 870 in Los Angeles between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. on weeknights since 2007. Prior to KRLA, he was the host of Red Eye Radio, an overnight (1 a.m. to 5 a.m.) call-in program on KABC AM 790 in Los Angeles. He focused on national and local issues.
James announced in 2010 a neighborhood council tour in which he would visit over forty-five neighborhood councils all across Los Angeles, taking their issues of concern directly to the airwaves. Called TeamKevin James, a website, listeners could follow his neighborhood council tour schedule and learn his issues of top concern and communicate with him.
He has appeared as a guest commentator on television news programs. James has made several appearances on Hardball with Chris Matthews.
Kevin Lee James is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he was a President’s Leadership Scholar and attended the University of Houston Law Center. He prosecuted federal crimes as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for three years and was given the Director’s Award for Superior Performance. He worked for more than twenty years in private practice as an entertainment lawyer. James was a regular on Court TV’s now-defunct Catherine Crier Live.
Once a Democrat, he is the hope of the Republican party to gain back their status that has fallen out of favor.