Loose Lips

Is Gray Already Throwing His Weight Around?

UPDATE: Gray campaign spokeswoman Traci Hughes left a message with LL saying the almost mayor "had absolutely no indication—no influence, nor did he persuade Juan concerning his decision with the D.C. State Democratic Committee."

Who wants some super inside baseball?

Juan Thompson, a Ward 7 member of the Democratic State Committee (the group of 82 super Dems who will get to appoint Councilmember Kwame Brown's successor), has backed out of his plans to challenge current State Committee Chairwoman Anita Bonds.

Why? In a letter to other committee members Thompson suggests that Almost Mayor Vince Gray asked him to:

I received a large amount of vocal and non-verbal support, but the foundation for my nomination has been shifted by objectives other than of my own making.

As a result, I will now suspend my efforts for the nomination for a number of reasons. New leadership of the District of Columbia is on the horizon, and it is the choice of our presumptive leader to embrace the local Democratic Party and give it a renewed mission for tomorrow.

Thompson  then goes on to pretty much thrash the current state of the party, which maybe needs a little shaking up consider its headquarters is Executive Director David Meadows' basement. (The D.C. GOP, by contrast, has a nice street-level office downtown):

I sought this office for the good of the party, and not for personal gain.  The DCDSC has not been presented with an annual budget, set measurable goals, or had meaningful discussions in months.  For the few years I've been involved, State Committee members have not seen a viable succession plan, revised bylaws or constitution, or an annual report.  We have not much to show for all our work, except for some money in a couple of accounts and a number of opposition parties ready to make the District a focus of their attention. We must now work even harder to change our focus. Let's get back to basics.

Thompson's withdrawal paves the way for Bonds, a former aide to Marion Barry, to coast to an easy re-election next month. Her two-year tenure hasn't been without controversy and LL hears that some folks are unhappy she's not being challenged.

LL has reached out to Gray's camp and Thompson and will follow up as necessary. In the meantime, read the full letter after the jump.

Fellow DC Democrats:

Over the last several weeks, many of you have received phone calls and e-mail messages from me and other members of the DC Democratic State Committee (DCDSC) in support of my strong interest in receiving the nomination for DCDSC Chairperson.  My platform was simple and to the point.  Our political organization has a real need to embrace systemic changes in the way that we do business and the manner that we support our candidates and electorate.  My vision was one of measureable goals and meaningful dialogues on the issues of the day that matter to local Democrats.  I received a large amount of vocal and non-verbal support, but the foundation for my nomination has been shifted by objectives other than of my own making.

As a result, I will now suspend my efforts for the nomination for a number of reasons.  New leadership of the District of Columbia is on the horizon, and it is the choice of our presumptive leader to embrace the local Democratic Party and give it a renewed mission for tomorrow.  And although I do love good healthy competition, my integrity and character are of utmost importance to me.  It is the very essence of who I am and that is why I have included all of you in my decision  One of my biggest character flaws is the willingness to include everyone in the decision making process. The Democratic Party has that tradition of inclusion, and I have always fought for that very principle.

I sought this office for the good of the party, and not for personal gain.  The DCDSC has not been presented with an annual budget, set measurable goals, or had meaningful discussions in months.  For the few years I've been involved, State Committee members have not seen a viable succession plan, revised bylaws or constitution, or an annual report.  We have not much to show for all our work, except for some money in a couple of accounts and a number of opposition parties ready to make the District a focus of their attention. We must now work even harder to change our focus. Let's get back to basics.

Lastly, I leave you with these words of hope.  Of the many everyday "sayings or analogies" in my household, one is AMDG (ad maiorem Dei gloriam) which is latin "For greater glory of God" and the other is we are "Men for others". Both are values were instilled in me and my sons from our days at Gonzaga High School.  One night a couple months ago while sitting at the dinner table with my family, my children were very inquisitive about what the DCDSC is, what its members do, and why I would want to lead the organization.  My kids grilled me as if I was on the witness stand in court.  At dinner’s end, I asked my four kids what I could say to fellow members that would encourage them to support me in this endeavor.  After several great answers, my 10-year-old excitedly raised his hand and said: “Tell them what you always tell us when we go camping, Dad – Always leave a place better off then the way you found it!”  My support for the DC Democratic State Committee is unwavering.  Still, know that we can always do better!  And, along with my fellow State Committee members, I intend to do whatever it takes to make that happen – now and in the future.

I thank all of you for your support, both great and small.  Attached please find a copy of my (former) draft platform statement.  And I will see you all next week for the officer nominations.

Kind regards,

Juan Manuel Thompson

  • Bisexual Vampire

    This is an interesting article about both Fenty and Gray ethnicity.

    http://themoderatevoice.com/87405/race-to-the-bottom-nix-the-mixed-ethnicities/

  • Politico

    To stymie Juan's noble ambitions for the status quo in the name of "keeping the peace" was a main reason I couldn't support Gray. Not to mention this is an example of why DC doesn't have a deep bench with quality legislative prospects and we continue to be years behind major cities on critical public policy debates let alone on equal distribution of quality-of-life basics.

  • Southeast Resident

    So in other words as Chairman Gray takes over the seat of the Mayor and head of the party, he will set the agenda, and only needs a lackey or figurehead in place like Ms. Bonds. Pat yourself on the back Mr. Thompson for laying out what needs to be done. Mr. Gray will ensure that it gets carried out. You see, Fenty had no need for the party organization and in the end that is part of the reason why he was done in. Mr. Gray certainly will not repeat the mistake. The State Committee certainly deserves better than meeting in Mr. Meadows basement. However, that is what happens when you serially mismanage money, you end up on the street.

  • Brahmin

    Gray actual does become the titular head of the party. So not to be confused but Bonds is a risky choice.

  • http://twitter.com/kcivey KCinDC

    Southeast Resident, aren't you saying that the other thing that happens when you serially mismanage money is that you get to stay in your position to keep mismanaging for another 2 years?

  • Southeast Resident

    @KCinDC, you see Ms. Bonds gets to sit in a corner and only speak up when Mr. Gray tells her to. Mr. Gray will be making sure that the State Committee functions right and prospers. You see he was responsible for building the party organization in his Ward into what it is today -- the richest Ward organization in the city.

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    Don't give them to much SR, we wouldn't want them to overdose on truth. Some of us like to try and capitolize on public information by putting a spin on it ,I guess it make them feel good or something, but we all know about finantial projection for the city for 2011 and how it may effect the city service, but don't try and lay blame before VG even takes office. The fact is, we may or may not lag behind some cities in these area's for the most part, it's because of gross mismanagement of city funds by this current administration's myopia and tunnel vision.

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  • ward 4 voter

    As mayor, Gray certainly will become the leader of the Party like Governor's do in their states and hopefully he can assist them raise funds and find a office, which is sad but Fenty wouldn't even show up to vote for Obama at the '08 convention! Regardless, the DC Dems certainly helped Gray build momentum with their many straw polls and the one here in ward 4, was Fenty's waterloo!

  • Washinton East

    Mr. Juan.. Thanks for your service. Your plan says it all!

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