Could a Gay Republican Be L.A.'s Next Mayor?
Kevin James, a gay Republican (and not the King of Queens actor), is hoping to be the top dog of Los Angeles, one of America's bluest cities.
James is a long shot in L.A., which not only skews liberal, but is heavily populated by gays, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, groups that all tend to vote Democratic. James tells The New York Times, "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."
A former prosecutor and current radio talk show host, James has raised about $700,000 for his mayoral bid, far less than the two top mayoral contenders. James, 49, hopes to knock out city comptroller Wendy Greuel in the March election, leaving him in a two-way race with popular Hollywood councilman Eric Garcetti, a strong proponent of liberal causes such as gay rights and public transportation. The current mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is staunchly liberal and a friend of President Obama — he was easily reelected, even after an infidelity scandal involving a reporter.
While Republicans would love to have a mayor in America's second-largest city, Los Angeles and California as a whole have become more Democratic-leaning in each passing election.
“On the national stage, [James] is the perfect example of the Republican dilemma,” Bill Carrick, a Garcetti consultant, told the Times. “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.”