Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) seats are notoriously hard to fill. It is not uncommon for a lone candidate to run for a single member district (SMD) seat. Once elected, many commissioners may not face a challenger for several election cycles.
The 2010 cycle is shaping up true to form in the three ANCs in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Last Friday was the deadline for candidates running for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner to file their petitions with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.
Commissioners are elected every two years from single-member districts (SMD). These are non-partisan positions meaning ANC candidates are not on the September 14 primary ballots. Instead the names of all commissioner candidates will be on the November 2 general election ballot.
Five Contested Seats
According to the Board’s final list of ANC candidates, there will be just five contested races on November 2 in the area:
- ANC 1B: Districts 02 and 04 have contested races. ANC1B has 11 districts, four of which touch the U Street corridor.
- ANC 2B-Dupont: There is a contest for District 09. ANC 2B has nine districts.
- ANC 2F-Logan: The are races in Districts 02 and 06. ANC 2F has six districts.
Borderstan contacted the people who filed ANC petitions to make sure they intended to have their names on the November ballot; several people said they had changed their minds and were withdrawing. Since ANC offices are nonpartisan, there is no primary election; all candidates go on the general election ballot.
Two Races to Watch
Notably, two ANC commissioners who in April asked the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to enforce the limitations on bars and restaurants in the Arts Overlay District along the 14th and U Street corridors are getting challenges. (A branding initiative is now underway for the arts district.) Several residents along with Peter Raia, ANC 1B-02 and Ramon Estrada, ANC 2B-09, asked the commission to enforce the 25% limit on storefront frontage for bars and restaurants; this limitation has since been raised to 50% (14th & U: Approval for More Bars, Restaurants Expected). Raia and Estrada opposed the increase.
ANC 1B covers much of the U Street area as well Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park, Pleasant Plains, University Heights and the northern end of Shaw. Only the contested races in the U Street area of 1B are listed below.
This U Street area SMD is represented by Peter J. Raia who is being challenged by two opponents on November 2: Tucker V.E. Gallagher and Aaron Spencer. Unopposed in 2008, Raia has sometimes faced criticism for efforts to limit the number of bars and restaurants along the 14th and U Streets corridor. This district runs along U Street from 14th east to 9th, and from S Street on the south to as far north as Florida Avenue in some places. Raia is a real estate agent, Gallagher works in marketing at AARP and Spencer is with the U.S. State Department.
Long-time incumbent Deborah R. Thomas has a challenger: William R. Girardo. He works for the Aspen Institute, doing research and working with domestic economic development organizations that focus on micro-enterprise initiatives. This district primarily covers a swath from 12th Street to New Hampshire Avenue south of Florida Avenue NW. Thomas received 65% of the vote in 2008 against Dee Hunter.
ANC 2B covers the Dupont Circle area. Only one of the nine seats is being contested. In the other eight districts, only one candidate will be on the ballot; seven are incumbents.
This race should be an interesting one to watch. This seat covers the panhandle of ANC 2B, from New Hampshire Avenue east to 14th and along U Street NW–it is the only district in 2B that borders on 14th Street. Dr. Sunit Talapatra is challenging four-term incumbent Ramon Estrada who also faced a challenge in 2008 from Doug Rogers who got 40% of the vote.
ANC 2F-Logan Circle
ANC 2F covers the Logan Circle neighborhood and part of western Shaw. Two of the ANCs six seats are being contested. In the remaining four districts, the incumbent is unopposed for re-election.
Incumbent Andy Warth, who won a special election to fill the seat, is not running for a full term on November 2. There are two candidates for this seat, which covers an area west-southwest of Logan Circle, from N to P Streets and Vermont Avenue to 15th Street NW. One of the candidates is Emily Barton, executive director of the DC Region of Teach For America. Borderstan has been unable to confirm with Joshua H. Hubner that he definitely intends to have his name placed on the November 2 ballot. However, he did file the necessary petition signatures with the DC Board of Elections and Ethics by its September 3 deadline.
Kate McMahon is running against incumbent Michael Benardo for this seat; he was unopposed in 2008. McMahon is a site manager with The New Teacher Project and was a public school teacher prior to that. Thise SMD covers the eastern side of the ANC in three contiguous sections, from H Street all the way north to S Street, and from 9th Street west to 13th Street in some places.