2013 Los Angeles mayor's race well under way

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Michael Buckner/Getty Images for L.A. Live

File photo: Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry attends the Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. LIVE on December 3, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

The field is expected to be crowded in the race to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Two candidates Wednesday added their names to the list of contenders.

Longtime city officials and millionaire businessmen are expected to jump into the mayor's race.

Wednesday, a long shot threw his hat into the ring too.

Kevin James, 47, is an entertainment attorney – whose real love might be his gig as a late night radio talk show host. He anchors the midnight to 3 a.m. shift on KRLA 870 AM.

“I’m somebody who has been talking and listening to thousands of Angelenos for years," James said. "I know what they’re concerned about. I know what they care about.

"And I think City Hall needs somebody who comes from the outside.”

James is a Republican who likes both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He talks about squeezing concessions from city labor unions to address the budget crisis, and also about working more closely with them.

“The unions need to be a partner in the fiscal solvency of the city, and they haven’t been in the sense that even City Hall has closed them out.”

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry also formally filed papers to run for mayor Wednesday, confirming rumors that she’d be a candidate. As she began to shape her political biography, she recalled that her parents inspired her interest in government.

“They registered people to vote, they worked on fair housing issues, they worked on civil rights issues," Perry said. "They never had a babysitter so myself and my siblings, we always went to the community meetings with them.”

Perry represents parts of downtown and South L.A. Like most early candidates, she wasn’t too specific with solutions to the city’s budget, ballooning deficit and budget cuts.

“I think we need to look at everything – collections, we need to look at cutting.”

One political analyst said an early favorite in the race to lead the nation’s second-largest municipality is City Controller Wendy Greuel. But a host of others may jump in.

They include City Council President Eric Garcetti, State Senator Alex Padilla, L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, deputy mayor and former investment banker Austin Beutner and the developer of the Grove shopping mall, Rick Caruso.

Fernando Guerra of Loyola Marymount University’s Center for the Study of Los Angeles said Beutner and Caruso might have the means to bankroll their own campaigns, but anyone who expects to raise money needs to start now.

“L.A. city law allows you to start collecting money two years before a mayor’s race," he said.

"So people can start collecting the $1,000 per contributor. And it’s going to take a couple of million dollars to run an effective race.”

The incumbent, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, is termed out of the office in two years.

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