A DC community activist whose spirited campaign for the Council last fall came up short has announced he will run in this spring’s special election.
Democrat Bryan Weaver made his announcement today on “NewsTalk.” He said he’s running in large measure because he feels the DC government is failing the city’s young people – particularly in the areas of education and youth rehabilitation. And he said he hasn’t been impressed with the other candidates who’ve expressed interest in the race.
His announcement came on the same day that Patrick Mara, a Republican member of the DC State Board of Education, declared his candidacy via YouTube.
Although his bid to defeat longtime incumbent Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) was unsuccessful, Weaver struck a chord with bloggers and others (thanks in part to a YouTube video that’s been viewed more than 82,000 times). They not only launched an internet campaign to encourage him to seek the seat once held by Kwame Brown, they also raised money for him.
The April 26th race is winner-take-all – there will not be party primaries – meaning a few thousand votes may be enough to win. There is also the possibility that Democratic voters will scatter their ballots among a dozen or more candidates, opening the door for a Republican like Mara to win, a rarity in the District.
Today, Weaver talked about why he decided to enter the race:
Democrat Sekou Biddle, a former member of the state Board of Education, was recently selected by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve on the Council until the special election, giving him an immediate leg up on a field that will probably also include former councilman Vincent Orange. Biddle enjoys the support of Brown and others on the Council, though he is not well known.
There’s little doubt the race is wide open. And while it will attract considerable interest from reporters and community activists, turnout in special elections is usually very light. Although 17 people have expressed interest in running and more entries could still come, some candidates may drop out or fail to collect the required number of signatures. The larger the field, the more difficult it will be for media organizations and community groups to hold meaningful debates.
You can watch our interview with Bryan Weaver today at 4pm, 6pm and 8:30pm on TBD. My colleague Kevin Robillard’s coverage of the upcoming special election is here.
We also talked today with Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) about the Republican push to repeal health care reform, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and efforts to lure a federal government agency to Prince George’s.
Like many Democrats, Edwards expressed confidence that the GOP bid to repeal the health care overhaul will fail – and she appeared to relish the opportunity to tout the law’s advances. Politico reported yesterday that Democrats are using the repeal vote as an opportunity to describe how the law has benefited “real people.”
She also talked about the shooting in Tucson that wounded Rep. Giffords, a close colleague (until recently the pair were chair and vice-chair of a House subcommittee). Edwards said that she and her colleagues must – and will – continue to be accessible to constituents, despite the violence in Tucson.
Part 1 of our conversation with Rep. Edwards can be seen at the times listed above. Part 2 is here:
Thursday at 10am: DC Councilman Michael Brown