Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel sought the endorsement of Republican Kevin James after he was eliminated from the race in the March primary. Now she’s out with an attack mailer blasting James’ backing of Eric Garcetti, her rival in the May 21 runoff.
“Eric Garcetti’s new endorsement is a shocker! (Hint: It’s NOT President Obama) He’s an Obama Hater!” says the mailer, which includes a red arrow pointing to a photo of James. A copy of the mailer was filed with the city Ethics Commission on Tuesday.
Garcetti has long-standing ties to Obama, but the president has declined to weigh in on the race because it is a Democrat-vs.-Democrat contest.
The mailer, written in English and Spanish, notes that while Greuel was campaigning with former President Bill Clinton, Garcetti was campaigning with attorney and former talk show host James in the San Fernando Valley. It highlights controversial past quotes that James made about illegal immigrants and Obama, one of which compared the president to a Nazi sympathizer.
(On MSNBC, James suggested that then-candidate Obama was a foreign policy appeaser comparable to Neville Chamberlain, the former British prime minister who made a deal with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to avoid war.)
“Say no to Eric Garcetti!” the mailer concludes. “He sold us out to win Republican votes.”
Representatives for James responded by releasing text messages from the period following the March 5 primary when Greuel courted third-place finisher James for his endorsement.
The screen grabs of text exchanges begin with one shortly before 2 a.m. on March 6, when Greuel congratulates James for receiving more votes than Councilwoman Jan Perry.
“U just surpassed her!” Greuel texts at 1:44 a.m.
Over the next several days, the pair discuss meeting up, with Greuel repeatedly promising to work around James’ schedule.
“How is your day looking? I am ready, willing and able!” Greuel texts on March 7.
Three days later, after Greuel and James met at his Century City law office, Greuel texted him: “We could have talked for hours” and asks to call him because she wants his advice. She messages after 10 p.m. asking if he is still up; he replies the next morning that he didn’t respond because he doesn’t have cell service at his home. She offers to treat at Loggia. They meet and then Greuel asks him to join meetings with her staff to discuss ideas.
“I am stalking you :)” Greuel tweets on March 14.
This goes on for several days. At one point, Greuel tells James that she ran into Pacific Palisades Republicans at a farmers market who missed his presence in the race.
“U are beloved – I hear it a lot!” Greuel writes on March 25.
James replies with a smiley face. Similar exchanges occur for the next several days, until James backs Garcetti on April 2.
Greuel’s campaign responded late Tuesday by blasting Garcetti for not calling on James to repudiate his past statements.
“Kevin James’ release of the text exchange is pathetic and reveals absolutely nothing,” said Greuel’s chief strategist, John Shallman. "Eric Garcetti claims to be an Obama supporter and yet only Wendy Greuel had the guts to challenge Kevin James and his radical and extremist comments that compared President Obama to a Nazi sympathizer at their first televised debate.”
“Wendy would never have accepted Kevin James’ endorsement without his unqualified apology for his racist and insensitive remarks,” Shallman said.