The race for DC Council At-Large is in full swing. Here is your chance to meet the candidates and ask questions.
This Wednesday, March 13, from 7 to 9 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Logan Circle NW, candidates for DC Council At-Large seat will be meeting at a public forum.
The event is sponsored by Logan Circle Community Association, The New Cambridge Tenants’ Association, ANC 2F/Logan and the Urban Neighborhood Alliance.
The candidates invited are Anita Bonds, Michael A. Brown, Matthew Frumin, Patrick Mara, Perry Redd, Ellissa Silverman and Paul Zukerberg.
From David McAuley. Email at david[AT]borderstan.com
Which of the seven candidates is the front-runner for the At-Large DC Council Seat up for grabs in the April 23 special election?
Depends who you talk to, and when. The Examiner.com dubbed Matthew Frumin the frontrunner on February 10. But by March 3, the Washington Examiner was citing “political observers” proclaiming Republican Patrick Mara and “establishment Democrat” Michael A. Brown as the leading candidates.** Mara was also “tough to beat” last week on Hillrag.com, but “the race is much too early to call.”
As a voter, it’s sometimes hard to keep the candidates straight. In the end, one defining characteristic must be seized upon to remember them. Mara is the Republican and Perry Redd is the candidate from the DC Statehood/Green Party. Since this is DC, the most memorable characteristic of some candidates – Anita Bonds and Michael Brown – are accusations of unethical behavior. (Bonds was appointed to hold the seat until the special election.)
Paul Zuckerberg is a Libertarian marijuana-rights attorney. Elissa Silverman used to be Washington City Paper‘s “Loose Lips.” And Matthew Frumin out-fundraised his nearest rival by a factor of two, which is probably why he was the only candidate to paper every seat with leaflets at a February 27 public forum on Sunday parking in the ANC 2F/Logan area.
Sometimes the campaigns don’t make it easy to tell them apart. Some of them have eerily identical websites, for example:
- Elissa Silverman at www.elissa2013.com
- Patrick Mara at www.patrickmara.com
- Paul Zukerberg at www.zukerbergatlarge.nationbuilder.com
What’s up with that? How did candidates of such diverse opinion end up looking the same? Does the Board of Elections give out computer templates when you file your signatures?
No, it just turns out that the candidates, regardless of their political affiliation, may have turned to the same vendor for web platforms. In this case, the vendor is NationBuilder, “the world’s first Community Organizing System: an accessible, affordable, complete software platform that helps leaders grow and organize.”
“Victory” and a Meeting with Bob
To test this hypothesis, I decided to launch a “Borderstan for DC Council” web site. I signed up for the 14-day free trail and, 20 minutes later, I had this:
The name of the template which appeals to such a wide variety of political opinions is called “Victory.”
Thirty minutes after signing up for the free trial, a salesman named “Bob” (not his real name) from Nation Builder called to offer a free tutorial and guidance. He said that a NationBuilder website starts at $19.99 and increases depending on the amount of traffic the site is likely to get, with potential state governors shelling out more than potential members of a local school board.
Under Bob’s questioning, I felt like I had been caught out in a lie, so I admitted that Borderstan was not really running for anything at this time. Bob was very understanding: “Sorry I creeped you out.”
Bob said he was coming on a sales visit to DC next week. Did I want to meet for a half-hour demo? he asked. I asked: Did he really understand that Borderstan was not running for anything? “Sure no problem,” he said. Sure, I said, I’d be happy to get a free demo. What could possibly go wrong?
To any of the candidates who want to move away from the Victory template: email me at david[AT]borderstan.com. I’ll introduce you to Bob.
** Anonymous is correct (see comments). The Examiner.com and the Washington Examiner are completely separate publications and we have corrected the article. The first (February 10) piece cited appeared in the Examiner.com and NOT the Washington Examiner as I wrote. The second (March 3) article appeared in the Washington Examiner. Apologies to both publications and to readers. – David McAuley and the editors
The D.C. special election is finally at hand: Tuesday, April 26. Voters across D.C. will elect an At-Large member of the D.C. Council from one of nine candidates on the ballot (links to candidate websites provided). The seat opened up when Kwame Brown was elected Council chairman in November. Sekou Biddle was appointed the seat until Tuesday’s special election.
For more information on the candidates, check out the Washington City Paper’s Voter Guide: The April 26 At-Large Special Election as well as the site Four26 and DCist’s Voter Guide: The April 26 At-Large Special Election. Borderstan did non-political profiles on candidates Joshua Lopez, Patrick Mara and Bryan Weaver.
The polls in D.C. open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. Don’t know where you vote? Go to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) Polling Place Locator, put in your home address and get your polling place information. Precinct locations for the Dupont-Logan-U Street area also listed below.
Same-Day Voter Registration
If you are not registered to vote, you can register and vote on Tuesday — this is only the third time D.C. has allowed same-day registration. Here is what you need to bring to your polling place on Tuesday — if you are not already registered — according to BOEE:
“To register to vote during early voting or on Election Day, you must bring a driver’s license, bank statement, utility bill, government check or paycheck, or other government document showing your current name and address and cast a special ballot subject to verification by the Board.”