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L.A. mayoral candidate Kevin James playing off actor's name

January 23, 2013 |  7:00 am

Kevin James

Mayoral candidate Kevin James is hoping that an unusual source of publicity — a movie that stars an actor who shares his name — will buoy his name recognition in the days before the March election.

Asked in an Tuesday interview whether he's confused with the actor best known for the television show “King of Queens,” Kevin James the candidate replied, “Hopefully, a lot!”

The lone Republican among the top handful of mayoral contenders, James was pleased this fall when signs, billboards and bus bench ads for the actor’s movie, “Here Comes the Boom,” appeared around town. Some dominated smaller signs for his competitors in the mayoral contest. The title, James said, reflected the spirit of his insurgent bid to lead the city.

James the actor has two movies coming out this year--“Little Boy” shortly before the March 5 election and then “Grown Ups 2” in the summer. “We’re not going to buy billboards – we won’t have to,” said campaign manager Jeff Corless.

Ideally, campaign officials say they would like to reverse the order of the new releases. “We need a grown-up, Kevin James, running City Hall,” Corless said.

On a more serious note, James, who has faced questions about his campaign spending, acknowledged  he may not raise as much as some other candidates in the race. And he said he may not purchase TV ads. But he said he expects to collect enough money to earn a spot in the runoff and will try to capitalize on free media coverage to reach voters. 

“Earned media is more credible in voters’ minds than a bunch of glossy television ads,” James said. “In the last election, all this money was spent at every level for ads people just didn’t trust and they just tuned them out.”

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-- Seema Mehta

Photo: Mayoral candidate Kevin James, left, and actor Kevin James. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times; CBS

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