The insurgent candidates for L.A. City Hall took a shellacking at the polls last week. But if you thought they'd retreat to lick their wounds, think again.
Today, Kevin James is declaring his candidacy for mayor.
No, not Paul Blart, mall cop — the other Kevin James.
The talk radio host. The one who does the midnight-to-3 a.m. shift on KRLA.
A long shot? Sure. But somebody's gotta be the voice of the insurgency in 2013. Why not a voice with the power of 20,000 watts?
James, who has been hinting on the air about “a big announcement” over the last few days, plans to kick things off in earnest on Wednesday with a rally at City Hall. Among the guests will be Ron Kaye, former Daily News editor and founder of the L.A. Clean Sweep campaign.
“He's the first outsider in the race,” said Kaye, who guests on James' show every Wednesday night. “He's going to be able to push the conversation in ways that an insider can't.”
The other seven candidates have all been around City Hall in one way or another, some for decades. James has never run for office, though he has spent a lot of time at neighborhood councils. He was also a big supporter of Clean Sweep.
So if nothing else, James should make the race more entertaining. But his folks say this is not some talk radio stunt.
“We'd like to think we have a good shot,” said John Thomas, his political consultant. “One of the secrets to Kevin's candidacy is going to be his ability to build a broad-based coalition.”
For those who don't stay up past midnight, James is an attorney and a former prosecutor. He started at KRLA in 2007, after a couple years doing the overnight shift at KABC.
As you'd expect from a guy who shares the dial with Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Beck, James is a conservative Republican. So that's a hurdle in liberal L.A.
Another hurdle will be clips like this one from his days as a cable-show guest. (It starts to go downhill around the 4:00 mark.)
That didn't go well, but Thomas was game about responding to it:
“He's not going to appease the problems of Los Angeles,” he said. (Har har.)
James plans to keep doing the radio show until about three months before the March 2013 election.