‘Happy Days’ star in recount in California mayoral race

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — If you are of a certain age, you’ll know exactly where the catchphrase “Sit on it, Potsi!” is from — “Happy Days.”

These days, the actor who played Potsie, Anson Williams, has left behind acting and is making a run for mayor of Ojai, California. Like any good Hollywood plotline, the race was too close to call even weeks out from Election Day.

Williams bounced back and forth for the lead with the incumbent mayor Betsy Stix, but the election was officially called in the small mountain town last week for Stix. Williams lost by only 42 votes, out of a total of 3,604 votes that were cast.

Stix was sworn in Dec. 13, but Williams’ supporters say it is not over. A recount started Monday at the Ventura County government center, and a spokesperson with the Ventura County Clerk and Recorder’s Office said the process could take up to four days.

Williams has said it’s his supporters who want a recount, one of them even footing the $28,000 bill for it because there is no automatic recount in the election. Supporter Tony Otto explained why he’s requesting and paying for the recount, saying “sometimes you don’t really know why you’re doing something, just that you need to do it.”

Providing clarity on the situation Tuesday on “Dan Abrams Live,” Williams said his team got conflicting information about the total number of votes cast versus the number of votes cast for mayor when they inquired about a recount.

“We thought, possibly, there’s a mistake,” Williams said. “Tony Otto, God bless him, said we have to make sure every vote counts, we have to make sure this is accurate, one mistake could be many mistakes, I want to do a recount, and I’ll pay for it.”

So now, as the Ventura County Star reported, election officials are conducting the tedious process, which Otto described as both “boring” and “interesting.”

No matter the outcome, Williams said he’ll accept the final result. In any event, his motivation for running wasn’t purely about winning the seat, but rather what he says are “bigger things.”

“There are things happening in our little city of Ojai that are irritating, complex and need to be investigated,” Williams said.

He referenced decisions by Stix to vote against a housing project as well as a spat over valet parking. In both cases, Stix was in opposition with the rest of the City Council.

Even as this year’s midterms were mired in controversy over election integrity, Williams said the recount effort doesn’t seek to stir up noise or divide the community.

“I’m not a politician. I’m in this beautiful little community, and the only thing we have are our communities. That’s what we have to depend on, and I’ll be damned if Ojai is going to be a microcosm of the worst,” Williams said. “Ojai’s always been a microcosm of the best of the community. The ship has to be righted.”

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