Forrest Williams: Old Campaign Debt Not an Issue in Mayor’s Race

More than a baker’s dozen have declared plans to run for mayor of San Jose next year, but no announcement was more startling than former councilman Forrest Williams’. Out of the spotlight since his failed 2010 county supervisor bid against Mike Wasserman, his announcement last month came out of left-left field considering his past supporters at the South Bay Labor Council are all-in for former vice mayor and present county supe Dave Cortese. Williams has yet to pull papers, but if he does he could peel votes from Cortese in a contest that is expected to be tight. But Williams told Fly he doesn’t think about taking votes away from Cortese. If anything, he said, Cortese could take votes from him. Wait, what? Fly isn’t the only one scratching its head over Williams’ kind-of, sort-of run. He said SBLC officials have called to “ask what’s my plan,” which is code for “WTF, Forrest?” There are some theories that 2010 figures into his new effort. A look at disclosure forms shows that Williams and his wife, Dorothy, had to forgive $116,950 they loaned his supervisor campaign. Williams insisted that he forgave only about $50-60K, though, and isn’t running to help pay off old debts. “That was a commitment my wife and I made,” he said. “There wasn’t anybody else who said they would help retire [the debt].” Wasserman wasn’t the only winner in Williams’ defeat. Political consultant Ed McGovern racked up $31,000 in payments from Williams. Perhaps that money, along with tens of thousands from State Assemblywoman Nora Campos’ 2010 campaign, allowed McGovern to generously provide embattled San Jose councilman Xavier Campos with free help during his race, which ended with George Shirakawa Jr.’s saliva on mailers that swung the contest to Campos. Asked if he planned to rehire McGovern after the costly defeat two years ago, Williams said, “That’s not something I dwell on.”

Forrest Williams 2010 supervisor campaign disclosure forms:

Forgives $7,136 in campaign debt.

Forgives $11,700 in campaign debt.

Forgives $98,114 in campaign debt.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

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