The LA Times' weekend story about Republican media adviser Fred Davis vowing to raise and spend $4 million in independent expenditures for mayoral hopeful Kevin James is the most interesting thing to happen in that race in awhile. If Davis, who lives in the Hollywood Hills, is able to find that many donors who want to throw money at James' candidacy, it could certainly shift some votes. (Not likely toward James, the only Republican among the serious candidates, but it might change the way Greuel, Garcetti and Perry play theiir hands.) Already, both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti have cited the David Zahniser story in email pitches to potential contributors.
From Rose Kapolczynski, Greuel's campaign manager, on Sunday:
With just a few phone calls to wealthy supporters, this SuperPAC will have more money than any of the mayoral candidates raising money under our city's campaign finance laws....Davis's track record as the architect of brutally negative campaigns against President Barack Obama and Senator Barbara Boxer makes it clear: At any moment, we could see an unprecedented avalanche of negative campaign ads paid for by anonymous outsiders attacking Wendy and dividing Angelenos against each other.
Today from Team Garcetti:
This Super PAC was started by a seasoned Republican operative who specializes in political smear campaigns. He has created vicious attack ads against President Obama and Senator Boxer. Now, he's focusing on the L.A. mayor's race, and it's clear who the target is.
Eric Garcetti is the biggest threat to everything these Super PACs support. With a single check, they can raise more money than Eric has during the entire campaign.
Davis says his Better Way LA committee has raised about $500,000 and intends to steer about $4 million into helping the James campaign make its case — independently, of course — that he's the outsider in the race and that Greuel, Garcetti and Perry are part of the problem at City Hall. Davis would also like to see a James victory invigorate the Republican Party in California.
I talk about this new twist in the mayor's race in the LA Observed segment on KCRW at 6:44 p.m.