Musical chairs in Antioch politics as Householder withdraws from mayor’s race to run for City Clerk

Sawyer-White withdraws from school board race, then pulls and files nomination papers again, reveals write-in campaign for Congress in March; said she would not run and back Lewis, but changed her mind

By Allen Payton

Antioch School Board Trustee Ellie Householder has changed her mind, withdrew from the mayor’s race on Monday and instead pulled nomination papers to run against incumbent Arne Simonsen for City Clerk. In addition, another candidate, Lauren Posada, has pulled Nomination Papers to run for City Treasurer against incumbent Jim Davis and another challenger, Ruben Rocha. (A message was sent through the Facebook account of someone with that same name in Antioch to get more information about the candidate. Please check back later for more details about her and updates to this report.)

Mike Barbanica filed his papers on Monday to run for City Council in District 2 and is awaiting verification of his nomination signatures. If qualified, he will face former Antioch City Councilman Tony Tiscareno. Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission Chairman Sandra White was qualified on Monday to run for city council in District 3. Julio Mendez qualified on Friday, July 31 to run for mayor but nothing definitive about the candidate could be found, yet on the internet.

Also, according to the latest report from the Contra Costa Elections office, Antioch School Board Trustee Crystal Sawyer-White filed her nomination papers on Friday, July 24 but then withdrew from the race. Then on Monday, August 3 she pulled and filed her papers, again.

Asked why she responded, “because I wanted to submit a candidate’s statement. They said, ‘you have to withdraw and resubmit’. Last time I won, but I didn’t have a candidate’s statement.”

Asked about her agreement with Clyde Lewis to not run for re-election and support him in the District 3 school board race, Sawyer-White shared the following.

“I ran for Congress in March against McNerney. I never hear from him. He doesn’t represent Antioch to me. It was a scare tactic. I was a write-in for Congress,” she stated. “There was an African American ‘She Ready’ event and said there were 100 seats open and they were really going to back us up. Jim Frazier runs unopposed every year. But I didn’t get enough write-in votes but not enough to make it to the November ballot. That’s when Clyde said he was going to run for school board.”

“Crystal said if I was going to run for school board, she would run for something else and support me. That was our agreement,” Lewis said when reached for comment. “Then I heard through a mutual friend that she had decided to run for school board, again.”

Sawyer-White said she changed her mind after Lewis had said he was going to run for city council, and people asked her to run, again.

“I announced on FB (Facebook) months ago…officially. Clyde told me he was running for city council a few months ago,” she said.

However, Lewis said he had been asked by some people to run for city council and he told them he would consider it.

“But it isn’t what I know. It’s not where I have the relationships,” he explained. “So, I continued in my plan to run for school board.”

“I am truly passionate about education,” Sawyer-White shared on July 23. “My term has been a living hell, but I believe another term with new trustees we can improve the district. I established a East Bay Parent Advisory Committee and I am on the CCCSBA (Contra Costa County School Boards Association) now, as well. I believe in transparency is key. Ellie and I work well together. It has been a pleasure!”

“You need someone experienced in there. I just can’t sit here and have my son in the district. It was a horrible semester,” she shared, today.

UPDATE: In a post on her Facebook page on Tuesday, Householder wrote,

Posted on Householder’s Facebook page on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for mayor. I did not make this decision lightly. After meeting with local leaders, the reality is our community needs to rally around a Democratic candidate for mayor. The last thing any of us want to be is a Ralph Nader (even though I love him but that’s besides the point).

I have the utmost respect for individuals like Council Member Monica Wilson, former Mayor Wade Harper or anyone who wishes to run for mayor (or any office for that matter).

During this meeting I was asked why am I running. For me it was simple, the flagrant disregard of our youth in Antioch. The City Council meeting on SROs exemplified that. We should not brush off 100+ concerns from youth about cops on their school campuses, we should be celebrating and ENCOURAGING it.

So I have decided to run instead for City Clerk – a position that will allow me to engage our young people in the democratic process, just as I have been doing for years.

In the age of Trump, we should be expanding access to the ballot box, not limiting it.

I am excited to work with the community in building an effective 21st-century Clerk’s office that engages everyone in the democratic process. I hope you will join me.”

In addition, according to Monday’s report by City Clerk Simonsen, the following candidates for city offices filed their nomination papers or qualified for the November ballot:


Sean Wright (I) – Mayor of Antioch

Julio Mendez – Qualified on 7/31/20

Rakesh Kumar Christian – Qualified on 7/22/20

Kenneth Turnage II – former Antioch Planning Commission Chair

Monica Wilson – Antioch City Councilwoman

Wade Harper – Withdrawn 7/31/20

Gabriel Makinano

Elizabeth Householder – Withdrawn 8/3/20

Council District 2

Tony Tiscareno – former Antioch City Councilman – Qualified on 7/30/20

Michael Barbanica – Filed 8/3/20 (awaiting signature verification)

Council District 4

Alex Astorga

Sandra White – Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commission Chairman – Qualified on 8/3/20

City Treasurer

James Davis (I) – Antioch City Clerk

Ruben Rocha

Lauren Posada

City Clerk

Arne Simonsen (I) – Antioch City Clerk

Dwayne Eubanks – Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commissioner

Ellie Householder – Antioch School Board Trustee


District 1

Antonio Hernandez

Diane Gibson-Gray – Antioch School Board President – Filed Papers 7/31/20

District 3

Clyde Lewis – Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commissioner

Crystal Sawyer-White – Antioch School Board Trustee – Filed Papers 7/24/20, Withdrew, Pulled & Filed Papers, again 8/3/20

There were no changes in any of the other city or school board races. This list will be updated when additional registered Antioch voters take out Nomination Papers, withdraw or become Qualified for the various city or school board races. To see the latest list of candidates for all 10 races visit

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