Loose Lips Daily: Primary Day Is (Finally) Here Edition!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Mayor Fenty Begins Day With A Pep Rally Live Blogging Adrian Fenty On Morning Joe! The Decided: It’s Gray’s Day The Curious Case of Sulaimon Brown Ward One Council Candidate Bryan Weaver’s Latest Video Watch Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray Make Their Cases
Good morning, Washington. Alan Suderman, aka Loose Lips, is off reporting this morning, so I’m here to deliver your daily injection of D.C. politics. And what a day it is. D.C. Democrats go to the polls! (More than 22,000 voters have already cast early ballots.)Stay with Loose Lips and Washington City Paper for regular updates. Let's get to it...
When Will We Have a Winner? The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott notes that "unless it's a blowout, it could be 10 days before the final count is in." Why? Take it away, Freeman:
This year's same-day registration, being allowed for the first time in D.C., threatens to snarl the final count. Those ballots, along with absentee votes, are counted separately from the electronic ballots cast at polling sites
The Big Picture: So what about this mayor's race between incumbent Adrian Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray? WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson asks: “Does Fenty Needs A Fourth Quarter Miracle?” (Short answer: yes.)
What This Means for the Rest of the Country: National political media types are apparently pondering what a Fenty loss means for those outside the Beltway. CNN says it’s a “nail biter” and declares: "D.C. mayoral primary may be felt far beyond the District." Really? Just like when Albuquerque, N.M., voters booted their mayor last fall? More national press from the Christian Science Monitor, CBS News, and Los Angeles Times.
Last-Second Appeals: DCist publishes an in-depth interview with Hizzoner. The phrase "tough decisions" was uttered a lot. What else? "You have to put yourself into my position four years ago. I'm going into running the administration, and that's at the forefront of my mind. To not go 1,000 miles per hour, to not attack the bureaucracy—that would have been counter to everything I ran on. I ran as a results-oriented, hard-driving, take no prisoners, shaking things up city council member who was going to bring that sense of urgency to the bowels of government. And that is what we've done." So does that mean Vince Gray will cause constipation? Maybe in a post-mayoral career, Fenty can be a municipal enema consultant.
In other news in the Department of Last-Second Appeals, The Washington Post’s Bill Turque reports that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee continues to be used as a political piñata of sorts. While Fenty’s camp is certainly not bashing Rhee, they aren’t being bashful in noting what might happen if Gray takes a bat to her schools reforms:
Monday morning, Fenty campaign staff called around to Post reporters asking if anyone had pointed out that the District's $75 million "Race to the Top" grant was contingent on following through with Fenty-Rhee education reforms already put into motion, such as broader use of test-score data to inform decisions and more intense teacher professional development.
We’re curious how many write-in votes there will be for Rhee.
AFTER THE JUMP: This is all Obama's fault (apparently), D.C. elites hate Ward 5!, late endorsements galore, Dupont Circle sign wars, and so much more!
Obama Abandons Fenty on Schools Reform? The White House didn’t do anything to help Hizzoner in his re-election, and the Daily Caller's Jon Ward notes how that may have played a factor in the mayoral race. Ward interviews Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, who says: "I think the president could have won the election for Adrian. I would go so far." ABC News' Jake Tapper tweets stuff to the same effect. Worth noting: Like Obama, Graham didn't bother to officially endorse Fenty, either. Not sure we'd go so far as to say Graham could have won the election for him, though.
Pre-Primary Fenty Post-Mortems: Over at The Root, Nikita Stewart and Jeff Mays compare the not-so-ideal political standings Fenty and fellow big-city mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., have with black voters. And President Obama also figures into this, as well:
Political observers say that some African-American leaders elected in the era of President Obama have misinterpreted his election and have miscalculated the black electorate. These recent elections demonstrate that certain African-American politicians may have abandoned too soon the social-justice platforms that defined the wave of mayors in the 1970s and 1980s.
An Examiner Local Opinions Zone writer tries to boil it all down, too:
So, Adrian Fenty faces being unceremoniously turned out by voters who hurt him when they fail to see all they have done for him. If he had been humble sooner, and focused on results that were "indisputable" to the vast majority of D.C. voters, rather than "non-negotiable" to critics, whether constructive or not, the Green Machine might be rolling along to reelection this Tuesday.
Hey, if Fenty somehow wins this thing, there will be plenty of time to dissect the pundits and observers who pre-maturely declared Fenty toast.
D.C. 'Elites' Hate Ward 5! In the generally overlooked race for Ward 5 councilmember, MetroWeekly's Chris Geidner notes the political messaging that has resulted from The Washington Post’s endorsement of Delano Hunter over incumbent Harry Thomas, Jr.. The National Organization for Marriage, an organization that opposes same-sex marriage that is supporting Hunter’s bid, sent out a pro-Hunter mailer—anchored by a snooty looking white male Wesley Heights patrician type:
Washington DC elites have no respect for our community. They try to dump all their problems into our neighborhoods. They don’t even think we deserve a right to vote on gay marriage. They don’t think we’ll vote the way they want, so they won’t let us vote.
Geidner notes says the Post's "editorial board treated the opposition to the District's marriage equality bill being shown by Ward 5 City Council candidate Delano Hunter as somehow different from the opposition to the bill that the Post editorial board had spoken out against in the past."
Fenty’s Future: So, assuming Gray wins today’s primary, what is Fenty’s post-mayoral move? Maybe he was thinking about that during Sunday’s triathlon? (Look at that facial expression! He's totally in his zone.) He’s already ruled out running as an Independent or Republican in November, no matter how many write-in votes he gets today for the vacant GOP mayoral line. TBD’s Sarah Larimer ponders what Citizen Fenty might do next. She asks former Ward 7 Councilmember Kevin Chavous, the man Gray unseated in 2004:
I think the first step for him is going to be one of introspection. He’s got to figure out what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. Hopefully he'll learn from this experience and be genuine when he pursues opportunities.
Fenty campaign adviser Bill Lightfoot, a personal injury attorney, said he might hire the mayor should he not win. "I think he's smart, he's articulate, he's hardworking," Lightfoot says. "And I think he's a people person." Hmmm. (We could think of a bunch of voters in Wards 5, 7 and 8 who might disagree with that statement.)
More Endorsements: Finally, Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert came out and endorsed: He’s a Gray guy! But two GGW colleagues endorsed Fenty! In his endorsement, Alpert—the guy who is largely responsible for organizing the last-second (and successful) resistance to the Gray’s so-called streetcar shenanigans—puts the D.C. Council chairman on notice:
If he's elected mayor, I intend to hold him to these promises, and push him to make real progress. I'll organize people on the blog and in person to rally to continue the valuable Fenty initiatives and to engage on some of the necessary issues that the Fenty administration has neglected.
I'm sure I will disagree with some of his decisions. But I disagree with a lot of what Fenty does. If, and when, Gray does something I think is wrong, I'll say so. I'll push him to be the best possible Mayor, to hire A+ people just like some of Fenty's appointments, but without some of the C- people Fenty also has in the mix.
Meanwhile, DCist endorses Kang for mayor in a joking non-endorsement. Martin Austermuhle writes:
But seriously, as a deluge of media endorsements have been made over the last few weeks, we've decided to maintain an editorial policy that we've had over the last six years—that is, we just don't do 'em.
How Swiss of you, Martin! (Disclosure: I co-founded DCist back in 2004, brought Martin on board, and helped establish DCist’s no-endorsement rule. Like Martin, I’m Swiss, too! But my Swiss ancestors ran a tavern on Capitol Hill a century ago.)
Oh, and what about our own deeply conflicted Jason Cherkis? He’s finally settled on voting for Gray:
A vote for Gray won’t stop a Chipotle from opening up or close out DDOT’s Twitter feed. What a Gray administration might do? Empower big business and the teacher’s union (yikes). And empower us to start participating in city governance again. Gray promises to listen to us. Let’s hope we can provide him with honest critiques and impassioned arguments. In four years, if Gray fails, we won’t have [D.C. Attorney General Peter] Nickles to blame. This time, it’s on us.
Perhaps Gray should appoint Cherkis attorney general?
Today’s Gray Schedule: Holy cow, Vincent Gray will be all over town! A campaign press release has a whopping 25-stop agenda starting at 7 a.m. Gray was scheduled to vote at the Senior Wellness Center on Alabama Avenue in Hillcrest first thing. Suderman reports there are voting problems at Gray's precinct. Says Gray: "It just puts a cloud over everything when you have glitches like this occur," Gray said, adding that his camp has heard of similar problems with voting equipment elsewhere in Ward 7 and Ward 5.
Today’s Fenty Schedule: Apparently, there is this morning show on MSNBC that people who read (or write for) Politico obsess over called Morning Joe. Mayor Fenty was scheduled for a 6:30 a.m. appearance. (Because, apparently, for the Green Team, GOTV does stand for "go on TV.") Your stand-in LLD doesn’t have cable at home, so we assume he rehashed his main campaign talking points. Results! School reform! Municipal enemas! (Oh, Cherkis was liveblogging the Morning Joe hit. Bless his heart!) We pity all the Fenty campaign staffers who had to show up at the mayor’s 5:30 a.m. election day kick-off at re-election headquarters in Brightwood. Cherkis was there: “This is perhaps the most genuine collection of Fenty supporters ever assembled.” Wow. Hizzoner was scheduled to vote at his home precinct at Sharpe Health School on 13th Street NW around 7:30 a.m.
We have no idea what Michelle Cross Fenty is doing today. Maybe tracking political developments on all those irksome blogs?!?
Security Upped for Mr. Gray: When your substitute LL was supposed to meet up with Gray for ice cream back in June, a large security detail flooded the Thomas Sweet ice cream parlor in Georgetown. It wasn’t for him, though. (It was for President Obama, and I apparently helped ruin a presidential outing with his daughters. Sorry, again!) D.C. Wire reports that because of “heated passions” on the campaign trail, Gray now has a security detail.
Fenty a Go-Go: Fenty’s last stand on the go-go front was at Allan Chapel AME Church on Alabama Avenue SE on Monday. D.C. Wire noted that the “timing of Fenty's event also means that parts of it could be broadcast live on 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.” Fenty buddy Ron Moten helped organize the gathering, natch, and told the Post that "500 to 1,000 supporters" were expected. Meanwhile, Anwan "Big G" Glover touts his man Adrian in a video, per Suderman.
(Perhaps Big G should have been at Saturday’s McLean Gardens "leash cutting" ceremony rallying the anti-dog park forces within the D.C. community garden voter bloc?)
Jinkies! A Mystery Machine: There’s apparently a “mystery van” driving around town spouting messages like: "End gentrification, vote for Gray." According to D.C. Wire, the Gray campaign would like you to know that the driver is not affiliated with the chairman’s mayoral efforts. Sean Madigan, campaign spokesman for Fenty, says accusations that it’s actually a tactic in reverse psychology by the mayor’s re-election team are "ridiculous."
Save Phil! The Washington Post's Mike DeBonis sums up the Michael D. Brown vs. Michael A. Brown fiasco in the at-large race, a drama that could cost Phil Mendelson his re-election. Confused? So sayeth DeBonis:
It's become increasingly clear that confusion is exactly what Brown is banking on. Last week, in addition to the other robocall, Brown sent out a mailer—one that does not feature a picture or, like the call, any mention of his shadow senator position.
Writes Washington Monthly contributing editor Art Levine at The Huffington Post:
Like Democrats who mistakenly voted for Alvin Greene in South Carolina or Republicans paying homeless people to run as Green Party candidates to drain Democratic votes, candidate Michael Brown is apparently following the disreputable legacy of Nixon-style "dirty tricks" to advance his campaign against the respected veteran at-large councilman, Phil Mendelson.
Suderman notes a report from the Washington Business Journal’s Mike Neibauer about A. Scott Bolden, the hot-shot lawyer and LL antagonist whose law firm has been giving money to the Michael Brown who could knock off Mendelson. Phil totally spanked Bolden four years ago, so it’s payback time. (City Paper endorsed Mendelson, by the way.)
Oh, also look at this photo Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells snapped of Michael D. Brown! Also, Mendo probably should have confused the whole Michael Brown mess by dragging bad memories from Hurricane Katrina into the fray, tweets Austermuhle.
Oh, Yes, the D.C. Council Chairman's Race: According to Twitter, Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange will be on Tony Kornheiser's radio show at 10 a.m.
Suderman Spanks Sulaimon: Mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown, a Fenty antagonist urging voters to "vote for a color, Brown, Gray, just don’t vote Fenty," gets a full dress-down from Loose Lips, who wonders why the man running for D.C. mayor has all sorts of odd ties to the state of Maryland. It’s awfully curious, ain’t it?
So either Brown was lying about not having a Maryland driver’s license, is the unknowing victim of identity theft, or there are two Sulaimon Maurice Browns who were born on July 31, 1970 living in the D.C. area.
Brown says he may sue media outlets that haven’t covered his campaign. Which, we assume, no longer includes City Paper!
Sign Wars! Wow, it’s almost as if the movie Election was transplanted from Nebraska to Dupont Circle! D.C. Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta, a Washington City Paper endorsee, tweets: “I'd like to know why all the signs I had up on Dupont Circle have been ripped down and replaced with my opponent's.” That’s Nate Bennett-Fleming! Where's Tracy Flick?
Electoral Predictions: WeLoveDC's Stroup takes out his crystal ball.
Advice for Vince: Assuming Gray wins the primary, he better not screw with the food trucks for fear of angering the Brightest Young Things hipster crowd! They’re organizing a curb-side cook-off. Vince better go get a lobstah roll to sooth the tempestuous foodies and bloggers.
Don’t Poo-poo the Shadows: The League of Women Voters takes the Post’s editorial page to task for not issuing an endorsement in the D.C. shadow representative race because, as the newspaper wrote, the office "carries no real responsibilities and hurts the city's efforts to be taken seriously." The League’s Billy Day writes in a latter: “The job demands dedication, and voters should elect the individuals best able to do it. The Post has a responsibility to report on these candidates as well as all the others on the ballot.” (City Paper endorsed Panetta for shadow representative.)
Retirement Watch: Ron Collins, the D.C. Council’s FOIA officer, is apparently thinking about leaving his post, according to Cherkis. (He's tired.)
That's all for now. We'll be back later.