What’s a DC election without a bit of drama?
Last Wednesday Logan Circle resident John Settles kicked off his campaign for DC Council at Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW. Settles is one of eight candidates running for the seat in a special election on April 23. The seat is temporarily being held by Anita Bonds; it opened up when At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson was elected Council chair in November and had to resign the seat.
Michael Brown, Anita Bonds, Matthew Frumin, Elissa Silverman, Paul Zukerberg, Perry Redd for the Green Party and Republican Patrick Mara are the other candidates. There are no primary elections; all candidates go on the ballot.
At noon some 70 supporters and neighbors of the area gathered at the back room of Ben’s to hear Settles talk about his campaign.
Settles’ speech hit on essential themes, such as ethics and education.
“I wasn’t going to wait until I heard about another self serving career politician prioritizing fully loaded luxuries over fully realized solutions before I decided to take action,” he said. “I am running for the DC Council because I want to be a public servant focusing on fully realized plans for affordable housing, education, labor, public safety and senior services. We need to turn the page on the corrupt politics of the past and let DC realize its potential as a world class model city. I am running because I’d like to prove that people with integrity, compassion, and vision can still make a difference in a political system that is brimming with waste, fraud and abuse. If I am elected I will be the Councilmember for all eight wards so I am campaigning in all eight wards.”
However, shortly after Settles’ launch, Washington City Paper published an article stating that Settles filed for bankruptcy in 2011, with court records listing $3.4 million in unpaid liabilities, including several years of federal tax liens. Settles replied that his filing for bankruptcy won’t hurt his chances in the race.
In a long statement, Settles explained that the bankruptcy came after a development company he built took a hit.
“The effort I put into building my businesses and rebuilding my financial situation after the great recession hit me directly, has strengthened my resolve to serve the public because I have such empathy for people who are struggling financially, and I understand first-hand the struggles of small businesses who are trying to keep their corner of the economy alive,” Settles explained in a statement to Borderstan.
Then, on Monday, February 4, NBC 4 published details about a three-ring fight in the campaign. According to the article, candidate Elissa Silverman, is challenging the candidacies of two opponents, Paul Zukerberg and John Settles. Silverman’s issue is with the signatures required by candidates in the election.
NBC 4 says Zukerberg and Settles have 10 days to appeal Silverman’s challenge.