KEVIN JOHNSON'S first political campaign wasn't always pretty—and it's not over yet. On June 3 the former Phoenix Suns point guard won 46% of the vote in the race for the Sacramento mayor's office. But since he didn't win a majority, he and incumbent (and fellow Democrat) Heather Fargo, who won 40%, will meet in a runoff in November. That means Johnson could be in for several more months of dodging mud.
During the campaign, allegations resurfaced that Johnson, 42, molested a teenage girl in 1995 and that he inappropriately touched a high school girl in 2007. (Johnson, who is not married, wasn't charged in either case; he reportedly agreed to pay the first woman a $230,000 settlement.) Johnson—who majored in political science at Cal and got into politics after launching several projects aimed at revitalizing sections of his hometown—said he knocked on 23,000 doors during his campaign and few people mentioned the allegations.
November's runoff will coincide with the general election, and Johnson is confident that he will benefit from Barack Obama's coattails. At a rally Johnson told supporters, "They said we didn't have enough experience. They said we mismanaged the campaign. They said all the negative stuff would stick. The prognosticators were wrong."