Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James, a gay Republican, recently got a boost to his campaign when Republican political consultant Fred Davis created a “super PAC” to help James win. Davis plans to raise $3.5 million through a pro-James independent committee called Better Way L.A.
Davis and other Republicans in Los Angeles, which includes L.A. County D.A. Steve Cooley, have embraced James' candidacy, but will gay and lesbian voters? A recent study by UCLA's Williams Institute, a prominent gay think tank, showed that gays heavily lean Democratic.
So far, an odd political reversal may be playing out, in which Republicans, who do not have a reputation as being gay-friendly, support a gay candidate but LGBT voters distance themselves from him… even though James could be the first openly gay mayor of the nation's second largest city.
Last month, longtime L.A. journalist Karen Ocamb, a lesbian who often takes on the role of LGBT advocate, depicted Davis on her gay news blog LGBT POV as a “notorious Republican ad man” who could “spell the end of James' dark horse chances.” Ocamb adds that Davis “has a long history of race-baiting.”
In her post, Ocamb also hauls out a four-year-old video and writes that James “has some image repairing of his own to do since many of us also remember his failed shouting match with liberal MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews in 2008.” James was dissing presidential candidate Barack Obama at the time.
All valid points, but Ocamb has been known to generously overlook the flaws of gay candidates and champion them. That's clearly not happening with her post on James.
Additionally, longtime gay rights activist Robin Tyler writes in a comment to the post that James is a “right wing a—-!”
It all adds up to less-than-ringing endorsements for James, who could make LGBT history in L.A. Although he's a major underdog in the mayoral race, such a prospect would normally have the gay community buzzing. Right now, that isn't happening.
If you're gay and live in Los Angeles, where do you stand on the James candidacy?
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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