It's unwise to downplay L.A. mayoral candidate Kevin James' chances.
In 1993, Republican Richard Riordan captured one-third of the first-round vote against three Democrats; he went on to win. It is this model that James seeks to replicate, with the recent endorsement of the former two-term mayor.
Just four years ago, an underfunded Republican named Walter Moore received more than one-fourth of the vote and nearly pushed incumbent Antonio Villaraigosa into a June runoff. This was a race that should have been no race at all. Villaraigosa was exposed as an unpopular mayor who avoided a serious opponent.
With candidates Eric Garcetti, Jan Perry and Wendy Greuel all competing for the same Democratic voters, James could stun the political establishment and proceed to a second round of balloting.