Douglas Chapman Files for Two Offices: Re-Election and Challenging Denis Bilodeau
Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 20, 2012
On Tuesday, East Orange County Water District Director Douglas M. Chapman pulled and filed papers to run for re-election. Then, two days later (i.e. yesterday), Chapman pulled and filed papers to challenge Orange County Water District Director Denis Bilodeau, who is also Mayor Pro Tem of Orange. To be clear, Chapman didn’t just pull papers for both offices; he’s already filed for both offices.
A resident of North Tustin, Chapman has been on the board of the tiny East Orange County Water District since 1983 and made an unsuccessful bid for the South Orange County Community College District when he came in third, running against the victorious Don Wagner, who eventually became a State Assemblyman.
Chapman’s annoyingly similar title was certainly a factor in his decision to run. His ballot designation for his challenge to Bilodeau is: Director, East Orange County Water District. The title of the post he’s seeking in his bid to unseat Bilodeau is: Director, Orange County Water District, Division 2. Oddly, for his re-election bid, Chapman is using “Incumbent” as his ballot designation, rather than “Director, East Orange County Water District.” I’m not sure why he’s using two different ballot designations for his two simultaneous bids for office.
In both bids for office, he has not pulled papers for a ballot statement, choosing just to throw himself on the ballot. Chapman also does not have a campaign committee open, which means he currently has less than $1,000 raised (if anything). Conversely, Bilodeau is a strong fundraiser; indeed, he had a very-well attended fundraiser last night for his re-election bid.
Considering Chapman is too cheap to pay for a ballot statement, Bilodeau should be able to defeat him with his fundraising and campaigning capability. However, it does seem like Chapman may be a nuisance candidate whose goal is to force Bilodeau to spend money he’d otherwise spend elsewhere. Or the 71-year-old Chapman could be a spoiler candidate whose role is to draw votes away from Bilodeau on behalf of a third candidate who would presumably jump in during the next several weeks. If the latter is the case, it might behoove those who are using Chapman as a decoy to recall that people have been indicted over decoy candidates. Filing a false declaration of candidacy is a felony in California, punishable by up to three years imprisonment.