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Pro-James PAC to air television ads for his L.A. mayoral bid

Kevin James

An independent committee supporting Kevin James’ longshot mayoral bid is going on the air Friday morning with a television ad that slams his rivals as responsible for Los Angeles’ woes, and says only the outsider James can solve them.

Warning that the city faces bankruptcy, the ad cuts to grim black-and-white pictures of the three elected officials who are James’ main competitors in the contest.

“Loss of services. Crumbling streets. Bankruptcy, caused by the votes of Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry,” says the narrator, Robert Davi, over ominous music. “Nothing would change if they became mayor.”

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A full-color image of James, the sole Republican in the contest, appears on the screen, and the music becomes uplifting.

“Only Kevin James can solve our problems, because only Kevin James did not cause them. Which will it be? Bankruptcy or Kevin James?” the narrator concludes.

The spot is the creation of fabled GOP adman Fred Davis, who formed the Better Way L.A. political action committee to support James’ candidacy. The ad purchase on broadcast and cable stations is significant -- the PAC is spending about $450,000 airing the ad, Davis said. The group has raised $700,000 from two wealthy donors, but he is confident of new donations in coming days.

The ad is a departure from what Davis is known best for: attention-grabbing, sometimes bizarre spots that go viral and produce ample free publicity.

FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor

During Carly Fiorina’s 2010 U.S. Senate campaign in California, he got tens of thousands of views for his online video “Demon Sheep,” which ridiculed a rival candidate as a wolf in sheep's clothing. That same year, Davis created an ad for U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell where she famously proclaimed to the camera that she was not a witch.

The Web ad Davis created for James earlier this year had similar hallmarks, notably a stuffed fox casting its shadow over the tower at City Hall (the ad argued that Greuel, Garcetti and Perry’s stewardship of City Hall has been similar to foxes guarding a henhouse).

Davis said he decided to take a simpler approach after seeing Greuel’s and Garcetti’s television ads.

“They’re kind of hearts and flowers, ‘We can do this, we can do that.’ The question becomes, ‘Why didn’t you?’ ” Davis said. “So I thought, it seemed to me, it seemed to our Super PAC, as opposed to being remotely cute, we should just be very simple and blunt, and that’s why so much of it is in black and white. It’s a simple message, it’s a simple cure for Los Angeles’ problems, so we wanted a simple ad.”

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-- Seema Mehta

Photo: L.A. mayoral candidate Kevin James, left, at a December 2012 fundraiser. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

 
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