A high-profile media consultant has formed a super PAC solely dedicated to raising millions of dollars for mayoral candidate Kevin James, a self-professed City Hall outsider seeking to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Los Angeles-based media consultant Fred Davis, who has worked for Sen. John McCain and former president George W. Bush, created the fund Better Way LA last week.
Davis said he has raised $500,000 and hopes to raise at least $3.5 million more to campaign on behalf of James.
The Los Angeles Times first reported on the fund Saturday, and since then Davis said he has been getting a "spectacular" number of calls about James, largely from outside California.
With the GOP trying to reach out to minority groups and expand its base, Davis believes donors like the fact that James is Republican and openly gay.
"The feeling is, `This is exactly what the Republican Party needs,"' Davis said, pointing to the party's poor performance in the recent election, especially among Hispanics. The GOP also fared badly in some elections with gays and young voters.
"It makes him a novelty, it makes him interesting," Davis added. "It makes him break from the far right position."
A former prosecutor, James has carved out one of the lone "outside" positions in the 2013 mayor's race.
At debates and in interviews, he repeatedly blames other leading candidates City Controller Wendy Greuel, and council members Eric
While he has garnered attention for his positions, and won the backing of groups like the San Fernando Valley Republican Club, James lags behind the other candidates in fundraising.
According to the most recent filings, James has raised about $275,000. Greuel and Garcetti have each raised about $2.8 million. Perry's donations total $1.3 million so far.
James, in a phone interview on Monday, said he was pleased with the formation of the super PAC, the first one established in the 2013 mayor's race.
James said that while he expects his sexual orientation will be discussed during the campaign - he is the only openly gay candidate among the front-runners - he doesn't expect it to be a major issue.
"My solutions (to the city's problems) are nonpartisan, my solutions are workable," James said. "And my solutions to the city's problems aren't related to my sexuality."
Eric Hacopian, a consultant for Perry, called the formation of the Davis' super PAC a significant development.
While citywide rules cap donations at $1,300 per election cycle, super PACs are allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a candidate.
"Does it have a chance of affecting the race? Absolutely," Hacopian said.
A lone Republican can have the edge in a field of Democrats, Hacopian added, pointing to the recent 46th Assembly race. In that San Fernando Valley-based race, Republican candidate Jay Stern trumped his rivals, including well-funded opponent Democrat Brian Johnson, to secure a place in the primary.
A chemistry teacher with no political experience, Stern's status as the sole Republican helped him gain votes. He ultimately lost to Adrin Nazarian in the general election, but his mere presence in the race edged out other Democrats like Johnson.
"He could throw off the race if he gets into the primary," Hacopian said of James.