- Larry Pretlow (right) with his campaign manager. (Photo: TBD Staff)
Larry Pretlow II isn’t messing around. He might just be a candidate in a small advisory neighborhood commission race in the District’s Ward 8, but the 21-year-old political novice is attacking the campaign trail with the intensity of a council election.
Pretlow this November faces Mary Cuthbert, a longtime fixture in Ward 8 neighborhood politics. He says he has dropped about $600 to $700 on his campaign for the unpaid ANC 8C03 seat so far, and expects to spend another $200 on a community meeting he has planned for later this month. He has printed six campaign t-shirts and plans to have more made by Election Day.
“You’re talking to a person who is going to go for Marion Barry’s seat whenever it becomes available. So if it becomes available next election, then hey,” Pretlow says. “I don’t have no problem with Marion Barry, but (it’s) the same thing with Cuthbert. You’ve been there, you’ve done that. You’re a legend. Move on. I don’t want to say Cuthbert is a legend. But Marion Barry is a legend. You’ve been there, done that. Let someone else.”
Pretlow has turned his apartment into a campaign war room. A ward map hangs on a wall, across from a clipboard with voter information and his released campaign literature. He also works with a campaign manager, his friend DaMar Jackson, who is the second person to hold the post since Pretlow started his run.
“I think I’m the only ANC candidate with a campaign manager,” Pretlow says. “And I think that’s a beautiful thing. I think that shows passion, that shows this is serious. I’m making sure that I’m reaching out to people, I’m making sure I’m doing it in an orderly fashion. There’s other people involved. I have support.”
Pretlow has also recorded a campaign song, which he says he plans to post on his website and hopes to hear on the radio eventually.
The next ANC 8C meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. Pretlow plans to attend the meeting for the first time this week. He says he previously planned to run for an ANC position in Ward 7 before relocating to Ward 8.
“I didn’t want to hurt my chance of getting on the ballot, getting my signatures,” Pretlow says, when asked about his absences from previous ANC meetings. “And I wanted to get out and touch my neighbors ... before I go to a meeting and the commissioner calls me out and says ‘this is the person running against me.’ I didn’t want to give her any ammunition. And a lot of people say me not going gave her ammunition, but the community doesn’t even go. So no one was there to not know. No one was there to know that I didn’t go.”
Pretlow’s challenge of Cuthbert has already drawn some attention this year. In August, the blog Congress Heights on the Rise posted a video of Cuthbert using a racial slur against Pretlow. She has not yet returned telephone message from TBD.