They share a name, a profession, and a city, but that’s not all that the Michael Browns have in common: they also share similar frustrations. The List spoke with Michael A. Brown, D.C. councilmember, and Michael D. Brown, D.C.’s shadow senator and candidate for the council, about what’s really vexing them in this campaign.
Michael A. Brown tells The List that Michael D. Brown “didn’t shake one hand” at Monday’s Ward 5 straw poll, which proved to be a surprise victory for Michael D. Brown. Michael A. Brown, who was not at the event, says that it was a deliberate move on the part of Michael D. Brown to conceal his identity. Michael D. Brown calls the charge “ridiculous” and says he “shook hands with anyone who would shake hands with me.”
Michael A. Brown complains that Michael D. Brown has become “more concerted [and] more calculated in his efforts” to obscure his true identity because “he benefits from the confusion.” Michael D. Brown believes that the opposition is using this name issue to detract from his strong performance in straw polls. “I think this is frustration on the part of people on the other side,” he says.
People don’t know who Michael D. Brown is
Michael A. Brown says it’s because of a deliberate “lack of campaigning.” Michael D. Brown laments that it’s because “no one covers the shadow senator.”
Concern over the issues
Michael D. Brown is most upset that people are talking about his name rather than his single-issue platform: statehood. “The issue is that the District of Columbia needs its full voting rights,” he says, “and 210 years is long enough to wait.” Michael A. Brown, who says there’s no bigger council proponent for statehood than he, doesn’t think statehood is the concern of people he talks to. “The lack of campaigning is what concerns people,” he says. “There’s no way people can know who are if you’re not campaigning.”
How to clear up the confusion
Michael A. Brown is concerned and thinks the Board of Elections has “a duty to inform the voters so they’re not confused.” Michael D. Brown, too, is unhappy — because Michael A. Brown allies are circulating fliers with both the Browns’ photos on it in an attempt to distinguish between them. The fliers have been handed out in front of him at events, which Michael D. Brown finds silly. “You don’t need the fliers,” he says. “I’m right here.”