Fiona Greig Withdraws from Ward 2 Council Race Against Jack Evans

by November 9, 2011 at 9:07 am 2,907 1 Comment

Proposed Ward 2 map, DC redistricting, Shaw, Borderstan

Ward 2 covers the Dupont and Logan areas plus Gerogetown, Kalorama, downtown and some other areas. (DC Council map)

Fiona Greig has decided to not go through with her challenge to incumbent Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) in the April 3 Democratic Primary. Evans was first elected in 1992 and has raised large sums of cash, putting any challenger in an uphill battle.

Moreover, Greig’s pre-campaign (she had formed an exploratory committe in anticipation of a run) had gotten off to a rough start after The City Paper‘s  Loose Lips column reported last week that a spreadsheet, inadvertently filed with the Office of Campaign Finance by Greig’s campaign committee, refers to Greig’s co-worker at McKinsey Consulting as a “homosexual”. DCist noted that Greig has issued an apology. The term homosexual is considered by many people in the LGBT community to be a slur — at best, very clinical term.

Will another challenger step forward? The 90-day deadline for filing ballot petitions for the April 3 primary is on January 4.

Ken Archer at Greater Greater Washington offers his take on Greig’s announcement; Archer was her campaign chair.

Greig’s Wednesday-morning email message is below and on her site:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I have decided not to run for the Ward 2 seat on the DC Council, a decision that comes after a great deal of contemplation and discussion with my family and friends. I want to thank all of you who encouraged me to run, and especially those who gave financial support to my efforts.

I wanted to run because I think that Ward 2 should be a leader in ethical government, community-based school reform, and smart growth and development. Perhaps I’m biased, but I believe we have some of the best neighborhoods in this city, and we should have the best public assets–such as schools, parks, transportation, and even a ward Councilmember–that equal our great residents and businesses. My husband, Paul, and I decided to buy our house because it was across the street from Rose Park, a gem of our city, and because the wonderful business strips along M and Wisconsin allowed us all kinds of amenities without ever getting into a car.

Like many of you, I was embarrassed by the stories I read in the newspaper about our elected government, and I wanted to do something. I have a lot of professional experience working with federal government agencies to find efficiencies in operations, and I relished digging into the DC budget to do the same. I also had experience working within DC government. As many of you know, while on loan from McKinsey to the Deputy Mayor’s office, I started the program, Bank on DC, which has enabled thousands of DC residents to get bank accounts. I loved that experience, and even my husband said he thought it was the happiest he’d seen me.

But working inside DC government didn’t prepare me for what I faced when I launched an underdog challenge for the Ward 2 seat. Perhaps I was naïve, but I didn’t expect to face an intimidation campaign by a 20-year-incumbent and his supporters. At home, I received muffled phone calls telling me about the “dirt” my opponent had on me. Someone wanting to hold a Meet and Greet for me received nasty emails from the opposing campaign. And I learned from a city agency that a well-known private investigator whose firm does “surveillance” and “domestic investigations” had requested my records. Maybe that explains the man who repeatedly walked past my house one night, looking in the windows.

All this occurred because I thought it would be good for voters to have another choice on the ballot. In my opinion, this intimidation campaign just isn’t right. We need to change the nature of the local DC politics to welcome more residents to take part in our political process–not spend time and money to shut them out. Without more resident participation, we know which voices will get heard. In this election, more than 50 percent of contributions to the Evans campaign come from big business – developers, parking garages and restaurants, many of whom hide their ownership behind limited liability companies. In economics we call this “extracting rents” – no business would give to a campaign if there wasn’t something to gain. This has led me to see the need for strong campaign finance reform, and I plan on lending my voice and time to this effort.

I made some mistakes in trying to wage a campaign, but I don’t consider it a mistake that I tried. After six weeks of intense effort, I decided I just wasn’t ready to mount the kind of campaign it would take to win.

Thank you again for all your time, support, and encouragement.



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