Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DC Elections Heat Up: Out to See the Action at DC for Democracy w/ Endorsement Update 10/15/14

Last night (9/10/14) I attended DC for Democracy's first of two forums.  This was for At Large candidates.  Of the 15 candidates running, 9 were chosen on the basis of showing more serious intent with funds raised, active web or blog site, and volunteers.  They were: Anita Bonds, Graylan Hagler, Brian Hart, Eric Jones, Khalid Pitts, Eugene Puryear, Elissa Silverman, Courtney Snowden, and Robert White.  The event started late, and Anita Bonds never showed up.  I don't know the reason.  Was it conflicting schedules or the opinion that she will most likely be one of the two winners?

Rev. Hagler was a little late, and Brian Hart even later as he was covering an important issue as ANC representative at a meeting.  A lot of interesting points were raised on housing, campaign finance, economics, etc.  Many statements received applause.  While almost everyone was applauded on some point, it seemed that Rev. Hagler and Eugene Puryear got the most.  At the end the candidates were asked about legalization of marijuana.  Two answered undecided (was too far away to see their names), and the rest said yes.  Perhaps someone can supply this info in a comment.

All were running as INDependents except Anita Bonds, DEM, and Eugene Puryear, SG (Statehood Green Party).  The 6 not invited were:  Michael D. Brown, Wendell Felder, Calvin Gurley, Kishan Putta, all IND, and Marc Morgan, REP, and Frederick Steiner, LIB (Libertarian).  I will add information on their next forum for Mayoral and Attorney General candidates as I receive it.  An argument was made that since the AG race was new, all candidates should be invited.

On September 17th, a followup meeting of DC for Democracy will be held at Ben's Chile Bowl on 14th St. at 7 pm.  There votes will be taken on which 2 candidates should get their endorsement.  I was told Alissa Silverman stands a good chance because she has supporters on the board.  Anyone who was a member on August 17, 2014 may vote.  After my own experience described below at their spring forum I made a point of joining.  Theoretically this is not a Democrat organization, but a Democracy organization.

Tonight (8/13/14) I attended the meeting of DC for Democracy which I had made a point of joining after that interesting At Large forum they held this spring for Democrats only.  For those who missed the fireworks, DC for Democracy had said they were only going to have Democrats, At Large at that forum.  Since DC Statehood Green Party had a contested primary with G. Lee Aikin and Eugene Puryear various SGP members and fair minded Democrats had contacted DC for Democracy urging them to include DCSGP candidates.  I had been very involved all day in this email struggle for true democracy,  and did not know when I arrived at the forum a little late how it had been decided.

When the moderator called for At Large candidates, I just went on up and took an empty seat.  Eugene's supporters urged him to go up too.  The moderator looked startled but did not object.  When it was my turn to give introductory remarks, I told the audience that I did not know if I was invited and if they did not want me to speak I would leave the stage.  A number called out "stay," so we did.

Tonight's meeting at Ben's Chile Bowl was to decide which Mayoral, Attorney General and At Large candidates would be invited to their two forums.  One forum for Mayor and AG, the other for At Large.  At tonight's meeting a number of people spoke up for including the non-Democrat candidates in the forums even if they had little chance of winning.  As one expressed, it is important to get new ideas and solutions out to the public.  We were also told that 3 At Large candidates had no web site, blog, Facebook, or Twitter presence on line and thus did not seem serious.  Others had very weak or outdated sites.  The upshot is that all Mayoral and AG candidates will be invited.  In all, 42 ballots were filled out indicating which people the members would like to invite.

*For Mayor, Bowser got the most votes and Catania a few less.  The others were much fewer.
*For AG, Zuckerberg got the most vote; some others were not too far behind, but I didn't memorize those votes.
*For At Large,  I believe Silverman got the most with 38, trailing with one or two votes separating each of the next 3 were Puryear, Bonds, and Hagler.  Then there was a notable drop to 4 others, and an even bigger drop after them.  I believe DC for Democracy will invite about 8 At Large, and they said they will forward the results soon.

Total contributions, rounded, for the top candidates were:
  *Bowser, $2,725,000 (5,425 donors); Catania, $772,000 (1,044 donors); and Schwartz, $65,000 (121 donors and a $33,000 loan).
  *Zuckerberg, $61,000; Karl Racine, $256,000 (with a $200,000 loan); Ed "Smitty" Smith, $186,000 (with 535 donors); and Lorie Masters, $51,000.
  *Silverman, $56,000; Puryear, $14,000; Bonds, $105,000 (52% from individuals); Hagler, $32,000 (75% from individuals).  All but 4 At Large candidates had more money than Puryear.  Silverman and Puryear received 100% of money from individuals.

The 8/13/14 edition of the Washington Post "Express" featured a piece on DCSGP Mayoral candidate, Faith, on page 3, and on page 4 listed fundraising figures for other Mayoral candidates.  These appear to be the cash still on hand, not the total receipts listed above and are:  Bowser, $1 million+; Catania, $465,000; and Schwartz, $50,000.  Other candidates for Mayor have less than $500.

NEW endorsements copied from DC for Democracy 10/15/14 email.  

At Wednesday's DC for Democracy meeting we voted to make some new endorsements:
....Having endorsed Phil Mendelson in the 2012 special election and 2014 primary, DC for Democracy is proud to endorse him again. Phil has been a champion for worker rights, good governance, and fair taxation. He deserves credit for recent victories in raising the minimum wage and mandating paid sick leave. We trust Phil to maintain high ethical standards and rely on his leadership to help make DC a progressive model for the nation. 

DC for Democracy endorsed Mary Cheh for her advocacy in support of fair pay (paid sick leave and tipped minimum wage legislation in particular) and for her continuing support for serious ethics reform, most notably, public financing of elections. She has emerged as a champion of the homeless and become an outspoken advocate for statehood for DC residents. We look forward to seeing Mary continue to bring creative policy solutions to the council. 

DC for Democracy was proud to endorse Kenyan McDuffie when he first won election to the Ward 5 council seat, and we are glad to be able to endorse him again. Kenyan is an important voice on the Council for economic justice, ethics and campaign finance reform, affordable housing and responsible development (including use of surplus public lands). The council has benefited from his thoughtfulness, good judgment, and integrity.

DC for Democracy is happy to endorse Charles Allen for the Ward 6 council seat. As a seasoned council staffer, Charles has a deep understanding of DC policymaking and of Ward 6. A former chair of DC for Democracy, he is refusing corporate contributions, making campaign finance and ethics reform a priority. As he did with tax reform (writing legislation to increase DC's standard deduction) and the minimum wage, we expect Charles to play a major role on efforts to create affordable housing and to complete a bill on the public financing of elections. 

DC for Democracy is also proud to endorse Initiative 71 to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by persons aged 21 and older. We believe this is an important first step toward establishing a sensible policy of taxation and regulation, significantly reducing the number of detentions, fines, and related hardships that overwhelmingly victimize young African-American men in our city, as well as removing the influence of dangerous criminal networks over the District's marijuana trade. 

No endorsements were made for the remaining positions because no candidate reached the required 2/3 majority vote. For Ward 1, Brianne Nadeau missed endorsement by the narrowest of margins, getting 64.7% (the other votes were no endorsement 21%, Ernest Johnson 12%, and John Vaught LaBeaume 3%). Here's the breakdown for the remaining offices:
  • Delegate: Eleanor Holmes Norton 47%, Tim Krepp 21%, Lino Stracuzzi 21%, no endorsement 12%.
  • Mayor: David Catania 37%, no endorsement 31%, Muriel Bowser 17%, Carol Schwartz 11%, write-in (blank) 3%.
  • Attorney General: Paul Zukerberg 51% (54% with 2nd choices), Lorie Masters 26%, Edward "Smitty" Smith 23%.
  • Shadow Senator: David Schwartzman 45% (52% with 2nd choices), no endorsement 30%, Paul Strauss 15%, Glenda Richmond 6%, John Daniel 3%.
  • Shadow Representative: Franklin Garcia 47%, Joyce Robinson-Paul 22%, no endorsement 22%, Martin Moulton 9%. 
Keith Ivey, Chair, DC for Democracy

Examining this most recent material from DfD, several facts stand out.  Remember, a candidate must receive a 2/3 vote for endorsement. While not receiving an endorsement, David Catania received more than twice as many votes as Muriel Bowser and more than three times the votes for Carol Schwartz.  I was surprised to see that Phil Mendelson received the lowest percentage among the Endorsed candidates.  Paul Zukerberg received half the votes, while Eleanor Holmes Norton received less than half with STG Lino Stracuzzi and IND Tim Krepp tied at 21%.  While on the campaign trail several have asked me if I was satisfied with her representation for DC and Statehood.

I will add details as more information is supplied by DC for Democracy