In the end, Jim Overton said the money wasn’t there.
The longtime property appraiser and former City Council member Monday said he has changed his mind about running for mayor in 2015, weeks after saying he would be a candidate.
In the time since early March, Overton said his due diligence showed he would have financial support, but not the “adequate donor support for a winning campaign.”
“I made a lot of phone calls, talked to a lot of folks … it’s just not happening for me,” he said Monday.
He said he had support and could have raised enough for a “credible” campaign, but not the enough “deep financial resources” to unseat an incumbent.
Overton, a Republican, served on City Council from 1992-2003 before being elected property appraiser, a position he has since held. Becoming mayor was an aspiration he had for some time, saying in early March the desire had been there since former Mayor John Peyton campaigned in the early 2000s.
A mid-February University of North Florida poll showed Overton placing second out of four possible contenders against Mayor Alvin Brown in the upcoming race. He garnered 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 in the poll were council President Bill Gulliford and Republican Party of Florida Chair Lenny Curry.
One not included in that poll but who has jumped in the race is council member Bill Bishop, who said Monday that Overton’s decision didn’t influence anything has planned but he welcomed the smaller field.
“From that perspective, I am not disappointed,” he said.
He said he can understand Overton’s position about finances — candidates can often hear
differing stories from possible supporters before and after announcing candidacy.
“A lot of things change once you do (jump in),” he said. “It’s easy to say one thing, then other considerations come into play.”
While Bishop is in, Gulliford and Curry — the two possibilities with the biggest rumors still persisting — aren’t.
Gulliford said Overton’s decision wouldn’t influence his own either way, nor would anyone else’s.
“It’s a personal decision for everyone,” he said of the
Curry did not return an email requesting comment.
The term-limited property appraiser said that while he won’t be running for mayor, a run at another position isn’t out of the question.
“It’s a noble calling, despite the bad rap it gets,” he said of public service.
More likely, though, he said he will return to the private sector.