City Desk

Ward One Candidate Bryan Weaver Produces Funkiest Ad of Campaign Season

Watch it:

The beats are tight; I don't even want to imagine what Jim Graham's dance floor moves to this would be. But Weaver, cash strapped and down in the polls against the mighty Graham, actually makes a lot of great points in this video. I hope this goes viral.

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  • Lydia DePillis

    Wonder how many people get the significance of the white Bug.

  • Five To Go

    Great ad! I hope you win!

  • Blue Pen

    Does he walk past the illegally chopped tree at Haydees? What's his stand on that? Eating a probably bland piece of bread (DC produces no good bread) and looking cute into the camera, ok it gets old.

    Wish he'd stop exploiting the latinoness of his family.


    Love the V W! FANTASTIC. Ended well.

    Well done.

  • Emily Kaiser

    Not as clever when you realize he ripped off the 1990 campaign ad of a U.S. Senator who died in a plane crash... He did work for him, but I still think it's a bit odd to totally take his whole ad and color scheme for yourself.

  • Prison Mike

    Very good commerical, though it is a rip-off of Paul Wellstone's ad. However, Wellstone's ad is so old that I think it's OK to borrow from it. I'd vote for Weaver if I lived in Ward 1.

  • Jason Cherkis

    It's more homage than outright theft.

  • Emily Kaiser

    I'd classify it as lazy campaigning. We native Minnesotans have a special place in our hearts for Wellstone's legacy.

  • Shawn Westfall

    Didn't Malcolm Gladwell put us right on this topic a few years ago?

  • DCDude

    His email about this video says it is in tribute to Wellstone because of his stance against pay to play.

  • bloomingdale20001

    Love it!

  • jaime

    While I appreciate (sincerely) the special place Wellstone has in a lot of folks' hearts, the simple fact here is that Wellstone wanted to see progressives succeed. Hence "Wellstone Action!" (, wherein his leagcy continues through candidate/campaign training and support. I own the first book, "Politics the Wellstone Way," published by University of Minnesota Press. And Weaver worked for Wellstone. And he says up front that he's "stealing" an idea.

    So, yes, I'd agree that it's far more homage than anything lazy or low.

  • niello8

    love it.

  • Jason Cherkis

    And the actual content/message was spot on. Especially liked Weaver's visit to the burned-out facade on Mount Pleasant Street.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Weaver earns major points for not including a single shot of Ron Moten, a go-go band endorsement, or mentioning a single fence controversy.

  • Emily Kaiser

    The "don't have money, so I'll speak fast" schtick fails when you say it in a 3-minute slow-moving YouTube video. Wellstone ran one 30-second TV ad his entire campaign, so that's what made it clever.

  • jaime

    Stupid government keyboard doesn't copy-and-paste well....Certainly didn't mean to link to our blog - meant to link to WA:

  • Grumpy

    He comes across as not your average pol...nicely done

    Graham is a career politician; he ceased being a 'public servant' years ago. He somehow escaped the bloodletting that got rid of Cropp, Jarvis and that do-nothing Chavous...the question is HOW?

    I'd hate to think it's not what you know but who you blow that's at work here...

  • downtown rez

    It's a good ad. A solid B+ effort. But Graham treats his his many diverse constituent groups right. That's why he's so popular. What issues there are in ward 1 arise from tensions between those constituents. The ad is a great feel good piece, but makes no mention of how he would better resolve those than Graham has.

  • Rick Mangus


  • …done

    cosign on that building Jason. I'm so disgusted by that sonofabitch slumlord.

    Excellent point downtown rez.

  • Gregory House

    Take a look at his character, what he has done for the youth and his encyclopedia knowledge of how DC legislative policies work; you will be impressed. I like him over Graham, not because Graham is bad, but because he has been in office for three terms and I believe that to be enough. Why the hell do we allow folks to stay in power for so long????? Graham responds well to constituency services, but what about the long term benefits of the community? Developed buildings, with no businesses? Elementary schools being closed, homicide increasing in scattered areas around the ward, and a recycling system that pales in comparison to major metropolitan areas around the country.

    He sees the big and small picture. Fuck, ill pick up the phone to replace a bulb in a lap post before I try to figure out how to solve metro, water and housing issues in DC.

    Vote Weaver!!!!!

  • Native Washingtonian

    @Emily Kaiser...yes, we get it. Weaver is not Wellstone and he did "steal" this idea.

    But since you're such a huge Wellstone fan surely you're aware that Wellstone is actually a native Washingtonian and was raised in Arlington.

    I suspect Wellstone would appreciate this ad and not see it as any form of "stealing" at all and would instead see it as someone trying to affect some change (sorry to use that word) in the city of his birth.

  • Boswitcz

    Kaiser do you not see the connection between a grassroots populist being outspent 4 to 1 by an incumbent that takes a majority of his money from corporations and Paul v Rudy? I would cut a Wellstoneian that worked at White Earth a break about the length of a video. If YouTube was around in 1990 Paul would have blown it up too.


    Iron Range

  • sedcdude

    cool, co-sign G. House!

  • iLOVEdc

    I think the ad was awesome! I've been a ward one resident for many years and I'm quite impressed.

  • Counter

    Before DCist and CP posted the video it had 42 views. Now it has 1,790. If every person who views it votes for Weaver, he'll get 12% of the vote.

    A more original video would have had a greater likelihood of "going viral."

    Also, in his campaign finance report Weaver doesn't appear to show any expenses for producing the video.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Do you realize that producing this video is pretty close to free? But I will ask Weaver about the cost of the video.

  • Will Atwood Mitchell

    "Counter" raises a good point, and Jason, I think your response is correct. I would also tend to assume that the cost of producing this video was close to zero. But it might not be, so it makes sense to ask. I think the video is quirky enough to go viral in DC. The Raven scene tips it.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Just got an e-mail from Weaver. He reports that the cost of making the video was "zero."

  • Andrea Fuller

    Great ad. I hope you win.

  • Fox

    Like the video, but not convinced about this challenger. Jeff Smith already has Youtube videos of him speaking at different Ward 1 places - but it's a bit more substantive and less rushed than Weaver's. I gotta go with substance.

  • Amy

    didn't the bus cost anything?

  • LOL

    Way t ask the critical questions before filing the story Jason.

  • Blue Pen


    l.o.l dot com!

  • Jason Cherkis

    Fox: Weaver has other videos, info on his campaign website:

    Looks like he's got a video of a debate and a radio interview. Might be more what your looking for.

  • Kim Walker

    Yup, Paul did it first, but do you really think he'd be upset? I mean, it *was* 20 years ago, after all. I think Paul would have considered that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and left it at that. Although, if Weaver starts driving a green bus, I'd draw the line at that!

    Wellstone Fellow 2000-2001

  • Truth Hurts

    Great video. I'd vote for this guy over the Grahamstander any day. What a breath of fresh air he'd be on our disfunctional city council!

    Graham's other opponents ought to drop out and endorse Weaver. Graham would be toast.

  • BSI

    Decent effort but for a web spot it needs to be 90 seconds max. Back to the editing board. Cut all repetition. Set up the concept, bang-bang-bang. My school, my family, my house, one example of a deadbeat developer, do the alt. transit, grinning with food, jump on the bus. Done.
    Could probably have been 60 seconds.

  • Lauren

    Great video but it's just funning. Where's the substance? Jeff Smith has been sending out videos discussing the issues and I think he has a firmer grasp of what needs to be done. Jason, why aren't you reporting about the substance?


    Who is using graham metro card/cards. For years it was Teddy Loza,Loza originally had the unlimited paper card, but them graham was issued the unlimited Smarttrip. So do two people have the cards or does Loza still use it? that is why when the press looked at who used their cards it didn't really show a true picture. As for the burned out building in Mt. P, Graham pushed to make sure the facade was "saved" preventing the builder from tearing it down and repairing and re-opening the other half. There were folks out there looking at it to buy it...but who wants to inherit that facade? underground parking could be put there, the facade is easily replicatable, its painted brick. the raven is another place Graham fell down on, there was a fire there shortly after tenant receivership legislation was passed but he did not push official to place the insurance money in receivership. Its back as "affordable" but the long displaced mostly latino tenants are long gone

  • rosalee

    In my diatribe I forgot to say I like the ad.

  • PleasantPlainsPoli

    I am really excited at the possibilty of getting Graham out of office !!!!!! I have been impressed with Jeff Smith who has knocked on my door several times in the past few months he seems to be intelligent and passionate... But I'd take ANYONE over Graham, he's a crook!

  • Diggums

    This is the sh*t ! All you haters fall back and stop being wack ! Remember to be a believer and vote for Weaver !!!

    Its UnBWeaveable !!!

  • SuperS

    I love it!

  • Korrupt

    If the goal is to turn ward one into New San Salvador then I might as well vote for the Grahamster.

  • Korrupt

    Further, I think it's too late in the game for Weaver. I think he should drop out and throw his support behind Smith. A three way race of this sort favors Graham (unfortunately).

  • edofdc

    Nice video Bryan. As a 20 year resident of Ward One, I'm wary of Jim Graham. Though some of the positve developments in the area should be attributed to Jim, the length of service and life as a politician seems to have matured him in a way that removes him from the majority of residents. The memory of Jim Graham's seemingly camara centric performance feet from a murder victim, has permently prejudiced me against Jim Graham. Living in Mt. Pleasant for 10 years, where the divides between home owner and rentor, group homers and private schoolers, immigrants and gentri-fiers are as stark as anywhere in the city, it seems as Jim tries to position himself as a friend of the working class, the money class knows he will protect their interests. If those interests dominant, the character of the city will be changed irrevocably and the great ward one neighborhoods would continue the path toward being clones of the Reston town center. ANC comissioners like Bryan see resident interests at such a personal and broad (as well as bizarre) level, I think it makes them ideal candidates to work as advocates of all the residents of DC. Living the life-style that Bryan and his bi-lingual familty do and touched on in his video makes him unicquely suited to address issues from a multitude of angles that I don't believe Jim Graham is no longer capable of doing. Living in the city, being an ANC rep, working wih city youth, sending kids to neighborhood/multi lingual/multi racial and free schools, in my opinion makes Bryan the perfect candidate to sustain the DC that I have loved living in for 20 years and would want my kids to grow up in. Though I enjoy much of the recent development, I don't want to lose any more mariachi bands or papusa stands, neighborhood florists, immigrant owned restaurants, dollar stores or flea markets (love those old stocking hats with the prominent X). Targets and Starbucks are high quality corporate residents and have made positive contributions to the area, but I am sure my memories of the salvadorian restaurant/nightclubs and the old columbia heights post office will outlive the taste of the caffe latte and/or my new socks. It seems to be simply a matter of if you like what we have and/or lost then Bryan appears to be a the better candidate.

  • Jon Morgan

    I worked for Paul in DC in 2001 and 02. I also lived in Ward 1 2000-05. I shared the ad with my old colleague Kim above. I'm not sure what to think about Weaver's use of it. I can see both pros and cons. Frankly it's probably still too emotionally raw for me. It's definitely not as bad as when Howard Dean plagiarized Paul's "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" line and used it as his mainstay running for the 2004 nomination. Or when Krugman put out a book with the exact same title as Paul's much sooner after than this ad. I don't think Weaver's ad is quite as well done as Paul's, but he is on a smaller budget running for a lower office. And YouTube wasn't around in 1990.

    In 1990, Boschwitz outspent Wellstone not 4:1 but 6 or 7 to 1. Wellstone also took no PAC money that year. The ad I'm really looking to find online is the one where Paul suggested that if kids had money to donate to campaigns, Boschwitz might not have had such a bad record on kids' issues. Tough, funny, important, and effective. But then again, Paul HATED TV ads and sound bite political campaigns. Like raising money, he ended up being good at it despite hating it, but fiercely believed 30 second ads weren't the right way for people to seek office or debate and that they harm the quality of public discourse, which I totally agree with.

  • Vrivera

    Great Ad! It's authentic and genuine. If something works well, why reinvent the wheel. Thanks for using your limited resources appropiately. Many politicians should learn to work with the "less is more" approach...and in this case, way more!!!

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