Anson Williams, otherwise known as Potsie on Happy Days, fell just short in his mayoral bid in Ojai, California.
Although the election was last month, the Ventura County Clerk-Recorder’s Office finally finished counting the votes this week. The office announced the results, Wednesday. And talk about tight — Williams lost to the incumbent mayor by 42 votes. Elizabeth Stix, the current Ojai mayor, had 1,823 votes, while the Happy Days star totaled 1,781. It’s unclear if Williams will request a recount. Earlier, he said he’d ask for a recount, so long as the margin was a slim one. We think 42 votes probably qualifies. Stix won with 50.58 percent of the vote.
Ojai is a picturesque town of about 8,000 residents. It’s just east of Santa Barbara. The 73-year-old Williams ran on a progressive platform based on sustainable environmental policies. The one-time TV star and director said his No. 1 campaign priority was his vow to “incentivize climate-change resilience and mitigation.”
Fans of Happy Days, a classic TV mainstay, know all about Williams. He and Don Most (Ralph Malph) played Richie Cunningham’s best friends. Ron Howard, the Academy-award-winning director, portrayed Richie. Williams appeared in 220 episodes of the series, which ran from 1974-84.
Williams also was able to sing as a more profitable side hustle to Happy Days. He got the idea from Barry Williams, who portrayed Greg Brady on The Brady Bunch. Thanks to Anson Williams’ suggestion to Garry Marshall, Happy Days added a band at Arnolds. Then Potsie started singing at real-live concerts, earning about $17,000 a gig. He earned $1,200 a week on the series.
Post Happy Days, Williams turned into a prolific director. He directed 31 episodes of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. He also had a directorial hand in Melrose Place. Lizzie McGuire and Sabrina the Teenaged Witch. Obviously, playing a teenager gave him an understanding of the genre.
Williams also is a businessman and entrepreneur. He founded Starmaker Products. And the line features more than 40 products, including skin care, clothing, a low-calorie cookbook and non-prescription medical items.
He used all this experience in his mayoral run. Heeeey, he even received an endorsement from Happy Days icon Henry Winkler. But a thumbs up from the Fonz didn’t get him to the finish.
Williams announced his bid at an Ojai City Council meeting back in July. He said the town gave him everything he needed for his soul. And he wanted to bring the community together.
“The heart of this healing community saved my life when I was recovering from cancer,” Williams said. “And (it) blessed me with the love of my soulmate. 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 the spirit of Ojai and protect the community we love.”