Almost six weeks after saying he would challenge Mayor Alvin Brown in the 2015 mayor’s race, Property Appraiser Jim Overton has had a change of heart.
“I am not going to run for mayor,” Overton said Monday.
He said the decision came after a due diligence period to gauge financial support that “hasn’t resulted in adequate donor support for a winning campaign.”
He said the support he received would be enough for a “credible campaign” but that “challenging an incumbent requires deep financial resources” that weren’t readily available.
“I made a lot of phone calls, talked to a lot of folks … it’s just not happening for me,” he said.
Overton served on City Council from 1992-2003 before becoming property appraiser — a role he has held since. In early March he said he had wanted to run for mayor for some time, dating back to when Mayor John Peyton first campaigned in the early 2000s.
A University of North Florida poll from mid-February gauged potential one-on-one matchups between Brown and possible challengers, with Overton faring second best. In that poll, Overton collected 31 percent of the vote versus Brown’s 42 percent.
Sheriff John Rutherford fared best with 35 percent versus Brown's 41 percent.
Others included council President Bill Gulliford and Republican Party of Florida Chair Lenny Curry.
With the change of plans, Overton said he will probably return to the private sector, but wouldn’t rule out of a return to public service.
“It’s a noble calling, despite the bad rap it gets,” said Overton, who is term-limited as property appraiser.
In early March, Overton said he would file “within several days” but never did. Since then, council member Bill Bishop has filed to challenge Brown.