District Attorney Steve Cooley endorsed mayoral candidate Kevin James to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the March election, his campaign announced this week.

The endorsement is James’ first by a prominent elected official.

James, a former assistant U.S. prosecutor and conservative radio host, is running as an outsider candidate. He consistently assails his top rivals for their tenures at City Hall.

City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, who are all running, have each held elected offices in the city for more than a decade.

“Cooley believes that Kevin James will make an outstanding mayor and that Kevin James is the mayoral candidate best qualified to tackle the many problems confronting the city of Los Angeles,” James’ campaign said in a statement.

A news conference for Cooley to publicly announce his endorsement and answer questions is scheduled for Friday at City Hall.

Cooley’s endorsement will be a boost for James, but it remains to be seen whether the nod of support can help the candidate make up ground in fundraising. James trailed far behind his top rivals through June, the last period for which candidates reported on their finances.

Greuel and Garcetti reported raising $2.2 million, almost 10 times James’ reported $222,145.

Perry had raised $1.2 million through the first half of the year.