The Antioch mayor’s race just got more interesting.
Former Antioch Councilman Allen Payton says he is running for mayor as a write-in candidate and will challenge incumbent Mayor Don Freitas and Councilman Jim Davis on Nov. 4.
Payton had agreed earlier this year to throw his support behind Davis and stay out of the race.
But today, Payton told me that Davis has failed to mount a serious campaign.
“He hasn’t raised any money,” Payton said. “He hasn’t put up any signs. I’ve supported Jim five times but I just don’t think he has the ability to beat Freitas.”
And what precisely constitutes a “serious campaign?” Davis and Payton clearly don’t see eye-to-eye on this one.
“I guess I’m not running the kind of campaign that Allen thinks I should run,” Davis said.
For example, Payton was the man behind an anonymous hit-piece on Freitas that arrived in Antioch mailboxes just prior to the mayor’s 2004 re-election. Some pointed the finger at Davis but Payton eventually admitted that he was the author.
Payton has political baggage, too.He served on a deeply dysfunctional City Council from 1994-1998 and barely survived a 1996 recall campaign. Payton abandoned plans in 2000 to run for mayor after he was arrested in an domestic dispute involving his wife.
But regardless of his political challenges, Payton faces an even steeper uphill climb as a write-in candidate. As the title suggests, a write-in candidate must persuade voters to physically write down his or her name on the ballot. That takes a lot of motivation.
UPDATE FROM PAYTON ON FRIDAY, 9/12/08: Lisa,
Correction. I wasn’t the one “behind the hit piece on Don Freitas four years ago. I NEVER ADMITTED I WAS THE AUTHOR. I merely designed it for some individuals, who brought me information to put in it and paid to have it printed and mailed. I then emailed the artwork to the printer they chose and got them prices and checked into the legality of it being anonymous. They – and I’m only aware of three involved – chose and continue to choose to remain nameless, and I’ll respect that, as they are afraid of the repercussions from Freitas, since some are involved politically and others have property and business in Antioch. I knew I’d end up being the fall guy and that’s OK. I’m not afraid of Freitas, what he can say or do to me. My concern is what he’s done and not done for Antioch.