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September 22, 2014

Posts in "DC Mayoral Race"

September 2, 2014

Fattah Aide’s Corruption Case Shakes Up Bowser Campaign

The federal investigation into the finances of Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., has hit close to home in District politics, costing a consultant for Muriel Bowser’s mayoral campaign his job.

Strategist Tom Lindenfeld, who also consulted for former D.C. Mayors Anthony A. Williams and Adrian Fenty, was cut from Bowser’s campaign after being implicated in court documents related to former Fattah aide Gregory Naylor’s guilty plea. The news was first reported by Washington City Paper’s Loose Lips, which quoted Bowser saying she was “quite surprised by the allegations” and that Lindenfeld no longer had a role on her campaign.

Lindenfeld helped guide Bowser to her April 1 primary victory, defeating incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray to become the Democratic nominee. His other Pennsylvania ties include working on the campaigns of former Gov. Edward G. Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street.

The allegations appear to stem from Lindenfeld’s role as a consultant on Fattah’s failed 2007 mayoral campaign.

Lindenfeld is identified by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “Person B,”  the founder and partner in a Washington, D.C. political consulting firm, who allegedly signed a promissory note for an illegal $1 million loan through his consulting company. Portions of the loan were directed to Naylor’s firm, according to the plea, and approximately $600,000 was spent on behalf of a failed mayoral campaign.

Some of the money was spent on media buys, and approximately $200,000 in cash was handed out in the form of “walking around money” to campaign supporters on Election Day. According to the plea, “Person B” requested Naylor submit a false invoice for the cash. After their candidate lost the election, “Person B” returned the unspent $400,000 of the loan, leaving a $600,000 loan balance. The plea then details a fraudulent scheme to repay the debt using funds from a nonprofit.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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By Hannah Hess Posted at 1:42 p.m.
DC Mayoral Race

August 19, 2014

Norton Questions Mostly White Ferguson Government

norton 136 121712 440x280 Norton Questions Mostly White Ferguson Government

Norton criticized racial disparities in Ferguson. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is characterizing the nearly all-white elected leadership and police force in majority-black Ferguson, Mo., as “poison.”

“Here you have mostly white police force in a mostly black community, but I’m really perplexed about why most of the elected officials are white as well,” Norton, a Democrat, said Tuesday during an interview with MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart. “Is there something about the way elections are done in Missouri or in the county?”

Though members of Congress have raised the alarm about mounting violence and militarized police in the St. Louis suburb, Norton, a Yale-educated civil rights lawyer, may be among the first to raise the issue of racial disparity among Ferguson’s elected leadership.
Full story

May 28, 2014

Westboro Baptist Church’s Plan to Protest D.C. High School Sparks Counterprotest

God Hates Fags 1 100610 440x321 Westboro Baptist Churchs Plan to Protest D.C. High School Sparks Counterprotest

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A local high school’s effort to support its gay students has drawn the ire of the Westboro Baptist Church, provoking the divisive, Kansas-based group to plan a protest next month in the District.

On Wednesday, mayoral candidate David Catania, an openly gay member of the D.C. Council, called on residents of the city to stand with students at Woodrow Wilson High School “in support of tolerance and respect.”

The Northwest D.C. school will host a Pride Day on June 4, welcoming more than 20 organizations with support and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students into its atrium for a midday event.

Five days later, the WBC is planning an anti-gay protest on the sidewalk outside the school, attempting to catch the attention of students as they arrive for morning classes.

“This generation cannot find wisdom at any of their institutions of elementary, secondary or post-secondary education,” organizers declared in a release posted to Westboro’s website on Sunday. The group is targeting Wilson for providing resources to gay students.

Last year, Wilson made history as the first public school in D.C. to have a pride celebration.

Catania spoke with the principal, faculty and students behind the second annual event and thanked them for their work. Some have announced plans to organize a peaceful counterprotest.

“As I told the students, they are reaffirming the District’s legacy of inclusiveness and respect,” he said in a release.

“This is the city where Mildred and Richard Loving sought refuge and the freedom to love the person of their choice when the state of Virginia barred them from marrying because of the difference in the color of their skin,” he continued, referring to the landmark civil rights decision that invalidated laws barring interracial marriage. “More recently, it is the same city that was at the forefront of the fight for Marriage Equality.”

Catania, a Republican-turned-independent who spent much of his childhood in Kansas, is urging D.C. residents to back the students against the protesters.

April 4, 2014

Muriel Bowser Is No-Show at DC Vote Event on Capitol Hill

Wasserman Schultz 32 100313 440x292 Muriel Bowser Is No Show at DC Vote Event on Capitol Hill

Wasserman Schultz, right, endorsed Bowser in her bid to become the next mayor of Washington. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser was scheduled to make a Capitol Hill cameo on Friday, but the Ward 4 Councilmember never made it.

Despite the no-show, her name and her race against independent challenger David Catania, an at-large member of the D.C. Council and a former registered Republican, were on the lips of national members of the Democratic Party this week. Full story

April 2, 2014

Ward 6 Loses Tommy Wells, but He’ll Keep Pushing for Livable City

Late Tuesday, on the top floor of a Pennsylvania Avenue bar near the Capitol, D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells capped a speech to supporters of his failed mayoral bid with a call to action: “Onward!”

Wells’ third-place finish in the April 1 Democratic primary means the 57-year-old Southerner will be out of elected office at year’s end.

He credits his 2006 election with ushering in “the beginning of progressive Democrats in D.C.” and believes councilmembers he’s endorsed, including David Grosso, Kenyan McDuffie and likely Ward 6 successor Charles Allen, formerly his chief of staff, will continue to work toward the shared goals of good government, smart growth and a city “where corporations are not the prime movers.”

wells 266 033114 1 440x292 Ward 6 Loses Tommy Wells, but Hell Keep Pushing for Livable City

Wells is vowing to keep pushing his vision for the city. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I think I have kicked off a progressive movement that may have, would have happened anyway,” Wells said in an election eve interview with CQ Roll Call at his Southeast D.C. campaign headquarters. “I’m just the person people gravitated to.” Full story

D.C. Race Roundup: Charles Allen Secures Ward 6 Council Seat

Ward 6 Democrats picked Charles Allen to replace his former boss, D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, in Tuesday’s primary election.

allen004 010314 496x335 D.C. Race Roundup: Charles Allen Secures Ward 6 Council Seat

Allen won the Democratic nod to replace his former boss, Wells, as Ward 6 councilman. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Opponent Darrel Thompson, who resigned his post in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office to launch his campaign, officially conceded the race around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, with D.C. Board of Elections results showing Allen leading by fewer than 2,000 votes.

Wells applauded his former chief of staff around midnight, when Allen opened up a double-digit point lead in the race.

“I congratulate my opponent for a hard-fought nomination and hope to work with him to make sure that all of our neighborhoods receive the progress they deserve,” Thompson said in a Wednesday morning statement thanking his supporters.

Thompson’s concession came after a long, slow vote count that frustrated many election watchers. Full story

D.C. Mayoral Primary: Muriel Bowser Wins, Promises to Bring ‘Fresh Start’

With “Uncle Earl” allegations looming large, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray and six challengers to win the Democratic nomination for the District’s top political post.

Suggestions that Gray could be indicted in office on corruption charges stemming from his 2010 campaign surged support behind Bowser’s bid, and Gray conceded the race shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning.

Bowser took the stage in a Southeast D.C. charter school wearing a big smile and her signature green and gold campaign colors to thank supporters around 11:20 p.m. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Bowser was ahead 44-34 percent. Full story

April 1, 2014

D.C. Mayoral Candidate Tommy Wells Disputes Polling: ‘We Have the Numbers’

Polls depict the District’s mayoral primary as a two-candidate race between Mayor Vincent Gray and D.C. Council Member Muriel Bowser.

Paramount to Tommy Wells, the candidate pegged for third, is the fact that both the telephone surveys conducted for the  Washington Post and NBC4/Marist polls can’t capture his popularity online.

wells 266 033114 1 440x292 D.C. Mayoral Candidate Tommy Wells Disputes Polling: We Have the Numbers

The progressive Ward 6 council member, prefers to point to the results of the final televised debate of the race. When WUSA9 asked people to text the name of the candidate they thought won the debate, Wells was victorious with 42 percent of the nearly 4,000 viewers that responded.

Wells also mentions an informal online poll conducted by the Washington Business Journal, which had him winning 44 percent of the 1,534 votes cast.  When neighborhood blog Prince of Petworth asked its readers who they would be voting for, Wells won — twice.

“Whenever it’s online, I win, and that’s because my supporters are very much of the new generation of social technology and social media,” Wells told CQ Roll Call on the eve of the April 1 primary.

Also promising in Wells’ opinion is an influx of late-in-the-race endorsements that his campaign deemed “endorse-a-palooza.”

“I’m second only to the sitting mayor in endorsements,” Wells told Hill Blotter.

His coalition includes traditional allies, like the D.C. police, firefighters, and EMS unions, plus the National Organization for Women. Carrying a bill to decriminalize pot possession helped earn Wells the endorsement of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Marijuana Policy Project. His vision for transit and affordable housing won him support from the smart growth advocates behind Greater, Greater Washington.

In the final 48 hours of the primary campaign, Wells also picked up some fresh endorsements from former supporters of Andy Shallal. As some progressives accepted the fact that the left-leaning owner of Busboys and Poets might be too much of a long shot, they threw their support behind Wells.

“Influence brokers” like former DC for Democracy President Keshini Ladduwahetty and activist Sam Jewler have pledged to use their online presence to sway followers to support Wells, he said.

While Bowser, Gray and other candidates were shaking hands and hosting get-out-the-vote rallies, Wells spent a few hours hanging out on Reddit. During an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session, Wells addressed something nagging many undecided D.C. voters.

The question: “Many view voting for Bowser [as] the only way Gray can be defeated. What do you say to those voters that WANT to vote for you, but feel they are ‘wasting their vote’ by doing so — since you are 3rd?”

Wells said polls haven’t really reflected many “key factors in this election,” especially his recent endorsements. “In addition, polls don’t reflect the enormous strength of my Ward 6 base — which has far more Democratic voters than any other ward largely due to the 80,000 new residents who’ve moved here over the last four years.”

More than 80,000 new Democrats have registered to vote in D.C. since the 2010 mayoral primary, according to a broad collection of data amassed by the Washington Post.

Gray has “boxed himself in by relying so heavily” on the support of Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, a four-term mayor, Wells said. In effect, the mayor is “alienating many voters and making it impossible for him to increase his share of the vote.”

Wells said he’s confident months of calls and door-knocking have earned him the votes necessary to win. “We have the numbers; our job is now to get them to the polls.”

Polls close at 8 p.m. Check Hill Blotter for detailed results.

A PSA for Independent Voters in D.C.

District voters registered as “no party” who turn out to the polls today may be offered the chance to cast a provisional ballot, but it probably won’t be counted.

Those who are not registered as a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or D.C. Statehood Green Party member “wouldn’t be able to vote today,” D.C. Board of Elections spokeswoman Tamara L. Robinson said Tuesday.

The deadline to change party registration was March 4.

Local voters who wish to register or update their information can apply for same-day registration at their local polling place on primary day, but party changes are not allowed after the deadline. Registration applicants must present proof of residence, such as a driver’s license, paycheck, lease, utility bill or bank statement showing an address in the District.

All 143 polling precincts will be open until 8 p.m. tonight. Those who aren’t sure where to vote can find there location by entering their home address on the BOE site.

Check Roll Call tonight for primary results.

March 31, 2014

Gray Signs D.C.’s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Norton Vows to Defend it

veterans 002 111113 440x292 Gray Signs D.C.s Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, Norton Vows to Defend it

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mayor Vincent Gray quietly signed Washington, D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization measure on Monday, sending one of the nation’s most potent pot bills to Congress for review.

Gray received the measure, sponsored by mayoral candidate and Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, last week and signed the bill with little fanfare one day before the April 1 Democratic primary in which the two will face off.

“This is a victory for the District and a victory for justice,” Wells said in a statement. “This bill is a tremendous stride to end the disproportionate sociological and economic impact of marijuana arrests on African Americans – arrests that pull families apart and keep our residents from jobs, higher education and housing opportunities.” Full story

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