I asked James, who's gone back to lawyering and has not decided whether to endorse a runoff candidate, if he thinks Greuel has simply written off conservative voters and thinks she can win without them.
"I think she had some conservative Valley support when she was a council member, and I think she thinks that with me out of the race, they're going to naturally gravitate back toward her," James said.
If enough of them do, he said, and the big-money support of the unions allows her to dominate in the TV ad war, the job of mayor could be hers.
Howard Cohen, a political analyst and Valley resident, said Greuel's camp may be calculating that there could be a historically low voter turnout that works in her favor. The labor machine will gear up to get out the vote, and Greuel may get solid support among blue-collar Latinos and whites with all those "union stickers … affixed to the lapel on her ever-present periwinkle jacket."
Unless Garcetti's handlers and independent support groups are all dunces, though, they'll make every effort to throw Greuel under the wheels of the labor locomotive.
I will say that when ruptured sidewalks don't get fixed, and potholes don't get filled, and DWP rates go up, a good chunk of the complaints I get are from the Valley. And their take is often that the city can't manage a budget or get anything done because city officials are owned by public employee unions.
The truth is more complicated than that, but that's the perception. And former Councilman Greig Smith, who represented the Valley, told me he thinks Greuel's labor support has already hurt her among some Valley voters.
"I thought she was going to win very big in the Valley, and so did a lot of people," Smith said of the primary. "And I think a lot of that slipped away and began going to Kevin James, even though people didn't think he could win."
Although Garcetti has union support, said Smith, the unions that support Greuel represent a big part of the total budget. Smith told me he's been surprised by how big a deal Greuel has made of her labor endorsements, and he said he told her he thought it was a tactical error.
"I believe Republican voters are going to support me like Democratic voters," Greuel said, "because they care less about political party than they do about getting the streets fixed, getting jobs and getting our fiscal house in order."
OK, great. But doesn't getting our house in order mean the love-in has to end?