Ron Moten, officially a Republican candidate

Candiate for D.C. Council Ron Moten stands below a statue of Frederick Douglass. Photo: Joshua Yospyn.

Ron Moten, politician, activist, and colorful metaphor-maker, filed his official declaration of candidacy as a Civil Rights Republican this morning at the D.C. Board of Elections. TBD photographer Joshua Yospyn was on hand to capture the moment and speak to Moten about his party switch.

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“It’s not about Republicans and Democrats,” Moten says of the fuss over his new political affiliation, which he announced in October. “It’s bigger than a donkey and an elephant.” He claims the change has prompted questions, but “there hasn’t been one person who I’ve talked to about why I’m doing what I’m doing, running as a Civil Rights Republican, once I lay out my platform and the history of the party, who disagrees with me, who says they can’t understand.”

Standing below a statue of Frederick Douglass, Moten says he himself was mystified to meet civil rights leaders on a trip to Alabama six years ago who told him they were Republican. “[O]nce they started breaking it down to me, I started understanding,” he explains. “The more and more I talked to them and saw the conditions they have and how things are being run in D.C., I really understood what they were saying.”

Now his task is “breaking it down for people” and explaining that the Democratic Party isn’t the only place for them. “Let them see, analyze what’s going on in the city, things they have not been paying attention to,” he says. “Explaining how they’ve been taken for granted, grandfathered into being Democrats.”

Always modest, Moten compares himself to President Obama. “Obama was put in office by a lot of Republicans who voted for him, who believed in him,” he says. “Democrats will vote for Ronald Moten in 2012 and believe in me, and I will serve them well and the Republican people well.”

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