Feb 4 2013

When I was living in Los Angeles in the 1980's Kevin James was a liberal openly gay Democrat. He protested in the streets Governor Wilson's veto of a LGBT rights bill. Kevin was one of the most effective fundraiser's in the battle for LGBT rights and to stop HIV/AIDS. A significant number of LGBT community and political organizations had him on their board.

Times change and so did Kevin James.

James became a well known talk show host who was increasingly conservative and provocative in his views. While becoming more conservative and even outrageous on issues he has always supported marriage equality, the right to choice and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Now he is the Republican running to be Mayor of Los Angeles.

The New York Times in an article by Adam Nagourney reported on his race this weekend. Here are two excerpts:

"Kevin L. James, a conservative talk show host running for mayor of Los Angeles, was sitting in his campaign office recently pondering which was his bigger obstacle to victory: being openly Republican, or being openly gay.

“Depending on what room you’re in here, sometimes it’s easier coming out gay to Republicans than it is coming out Republican to gays,” he said.

By any measure, Mr. James, 49, is a bit of a long shot. He is a Republican brassy former prosecutor running in a Democratic city at a time when California is marching steadily to the left, making his first bid for office in a field of establishment candidates.

Yet in the first major election since President Obama’s victory in November — voting that relegated the California Republican Party to the margins — Mr. James has become, at least for a few national Republicans, something of a lifeline. They see in his candidacy in the March 5 vote an outside chance to grab what could be a spirit-lifting victory, and perhaps even signal a way to get back in the game in California.

Fred Davis, a Republican ad producer based in the Hollywood Hills who worked for the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, created a political action committee to finance an advertising campaign to help Mr. James compete with his better-financed competitors. Mr. Davis was looking to raise $4 million from Republicans across the nation; he has since scaled back that goal a bit (he had raised $700,000 as of Friday).

And Mr. James has retained John Weaver, a Republican political consultant who has long advised Mr. McCain, as his senior political adviser. Mr. Weaver has increasingly warned that Republicans are marginalizing themselves by moving to the right on issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration.

“He is from central casting about what a future Republican candidate can look like in an urban or blue state and win,” Mr. Weaver said. “It’s important for the party. We have not done well nationally since we stopped winning in California.”

Mr. James’s draw for these men is not only that he is a fiscal conservative who supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage, or that he is a colorful show horse in a field of gray. (At a debate the other night, he kept standing up when it was his turn to speak, even as everyone else settled politely into their chairs.) "


“On the national stage, he is the perfect example of the Republican dilemma,” said Bill Carrick, a Democratic consultant advising one of Mr. James’s Democratic rivals, Eric Garcetti, a member of the City Council. “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. It’s a hell of a challenge.”

But Mr. James could well affect the final outcome here. Given Mr. Davis’s effort and the crowded field, Mr. James is positioned to squeeze his way into a two-way runoff this spring. If he does, it will probably be at the expense of Wendy Greuel, the city comptroller, who is competing for the same votes in the San Fernando Valley where Mr. James has a constituency. Mr. James has directed most of his attacks against her.

Whether he could beat a Democrat in a two-way race — polls suggest that the opponent would be Mr. Garcetti — is decidedly less likely."

Read the entire article here......