Anson Williams-Endorsed Recount Kicks Off in Ojai Mayoral Race

The “Happy Days” star and mayoral candidate lost his election to incumbent Betsy Stix by a reported 42-vote margin

Anson Williams attends Garry Marshall Theatre's 3rd Annual Founder's Gala Honoring Original "Happy Days" Cast
Rachel Luna/Getty Images

A vote recount began Friday in a tight mayoral election in Ojai, California, that pits the incumbent Mayor Betsy Stix against “Happy Days” star Anson Williams.

Williams first said he supports a recount last week due a dispute over 226 rejected ballots in a race that reportedly had been decided by just 42 votes. In the official result announced Dec. 6, the Ventura County Clerk’s office showed 1,823 votes for Stix and 1,781 for Williams. The winner will lead this Ventura County city, located about 80 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

Tony Otto, who helped Williams with his campaign, officially filed for the recount on Dec. 8.

“I guess they’re having to read the manual on this one,” Otto told The Wrap. “It’s just so close. We want a recount for good measure. We also want to observe it, to make sure there are no anomalies.”

Sharon MaHarry, Williams’ fiancé, told TheWrap the whole process seems a little fishy.

“They said they had added the 226 undervotes into the total twice, by mistake. And the certified total we had of 3,604 votes didn’t include any of the undervotes, so it looked like there were 452 missing votes,” Maharry said. “It still doesn’t engender confidence in their competence.”

Williams, 72, is best known for playing the role of Potsie on the 1970s and 1980s sitcom “Happy Days.” He ran on a platform heavily dosed with “sustainable environmental policies” as well as basic quality of life issues for the city. The No. 1 priority listed on his campaign website was a pledge to “incentivize climate-change resilience and mitigation” in Ojai, with the creation of a commission to find the “best practices and policies to lower Ojai’s carbon footprint,” and “promote incentives to encourage the use of conservation and renewable energy.”

The actor-turned-politician said he fell in love with the city while living there and recovering from cancer, but wanted to make local government more responsive to the people.

“The heart of this healing community saved my life when I was recovering from cancer and blessed me with the love of my soulmate,” he wrote on his website. “But in the last couple of years, I’ve sensed a troubling change. Divisiveness and conflict are tearing us apart at a time when we need to pull together. It’s time for new leadership. Let’s bring back the spirit of Ojai and protect the community we love.”