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James calls mayoral run 'rewarding,' unsure if he will run again

March 6, 2013 |  5:46 pm

Kevin James, who finished third as the sole Republican in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, said Wednesday that the experience was among the “most rewarding” in his life, and declined to rule out another run for office.

“Seeing so many people get involved in their community and being challenged every day …. by the other candidates, being challenged by voters, I thought that scrutiny was interesting and exciting, just everything about,” James said in an interview. “Fundraising is a bit monotonous, but other than that….I did 42 debates, I would have done 52 debates.”

He has not decided whether he will endorse one of the Democrats who made the runoff. But he said he has strict criteria on which he would make his decision and plans to meet with both City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti.

“For Ms. Greuel, I need to have some confidence that there’s going to be some semblance of independence between her position as mayor and the public-sector unions,” James said.

Greuel was a major beneficiary of union spending in the race, and on Wednesday picked up the endorsement of a powerful union that represents 10,000 city workers.

“That just means that her hill gets steeper. That doesn’t mean she can’t achieve it,” James said.

“For Mr. Garcetti, I need to have some confidence and belief that he will run the office of mayor differently than he did as council president,” he said.

James, who received 16% of the vote, said that his inability to make the runoff had more to do with timing and fundraising than with the city’s blue tilt.

“If we had had more traction earlier, I would have made the runoff,” James said. “I don’t think it says so much about Republican vs. Democrat as it does needing more time and money to let Angelinos know they had a choice.”

Earlier in the day, he thanked supporters and pledged to remain active in civic life.

“I let them know we shaped the debate, we changed the discussion, and we will continue to do so,” James said. “I’m not going anywhere.”

James plans to return to his radio-host roots while remaining a City Hall watchdog.

“I don’t know if I run again,” James said. “It depends on if the next mayor, if Mr. Garcetti or Ms. Greuel, they do a good job, then there’s no reason for me to do it again. But if they perform as they did as controller and City Council president, then we’re going to need a new major so we’ll see.”

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-- Seema Mehta

Twitter.com/LATSeema

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