Bobby Sigman has dropped out of the Covington mayor's race following the release of an undercover video by police showing him apparently paying for stolen campaign signs of his opponent, Ronnie Johnston.
Sigman told the Citizen Tuesday that he "used bad judgement" but, "I do not admit to any criminal intent."
"I'm just tired of my supporters and family being carried through this news media and publicity they have. It's not fair to them to have to go through this. In the best interest for them and everything I decided to drop out of the race," Sigman said.
Sigman was arrested the night of Oct. 12 following an undercover operation by police and charged with making false statements within a political subdivision, theft by taking and criminal trespass, all misdemeanors.
“Our investigation gathered intelligence that indicated Mr. Bobby Sigman (mayoral candidate) was paying individuals to remove Johnston mayoral candidate yard signs from properties in the Covington area,” said Capt. Ken Malcom.
After the signs were allegedly purchased, the CPD conducted a traffic stop on Sigman and escorted him to CPD headquarters. Police say he made false statements concerning the signs.
The day following his arrest, Sigman proclaimed his innocence, accused police of planting evidence and said he intended to stay in the mayor's race.
Sigman said Tuesday he believes the timing of the release of the video is suspicious.
"They're carrying it too far. That was just nothing but politically motivated. That forum is tonight and they had the timing set just right," Sigman said, referring to a candidate's forum to be held Tuesday evening. "They got what they wanted."
Sigman previously said the power structure in Covington is attempting to prevent him from being elected.
"I am not admitting any guilt. I am admitting to bad decisions and bad judgement," he said.
Sigman claimed he was out knocking on doors when he saw a Johnston sign in a citizen's yard.
"I jokingly said, 'You've got the wrong sign there. You need one of mine.' He said (Johnston) paid me five dollars to put that sign there. And I made an off the cuff remark, if people know me, they know I do this, and said 'I'll give you $1, to take them all up.'"
Sigman said he later received a call from the citizen asking him to meet with him and when he saw the pile of signs, "I thought, 'Hell, this is not right.'"
Sigman said he paid for the signs "to get rid of that joker. I had a gut feeling something was wrong." He said he intended to call Johnston to report the stolen signs as soon as he got home but then discovered he was the target of an undercover operation.
Johnston denied paying citizens to put up his signs.
"I want to be as clear as possible. I have never and will never pay somebody to put my sign in their yard, or to take somebody else's sign up or anything like that. That's an insult to me. I've never put a sign up unless the person was home and gave permission."
Johnston said he's eager to get back to the real issues affecting the citizens of Covington as the November 8 election nears. Sigman's withdrawal leaves Johnston's only opposition as write-in candidate Tim Walden.
"I just think it's important to keep Bobby, his family, his grandkids and his kids all in our prayers, and his supporters. It's a sad situation. I'm really, really looking forward to us moving on and getting back to the issues of the city and the people of the city," Johnston said.