Loose Lips

Republican Golden Boy Runs for At-Large

Pat Mara, looking in the above video like an earnest high school student making a practice tape for speech class, has thrown his hat in the ring for the at-large seat.

The announcement is hardly shocking, given that these rare special elections seem to be a Republican's best shot at winning a council seat. (If you don't know by now, then-Republican David Catania was the surprise victor of the 1997 special election.)

Mara's definitely got a fighting chance of winning the election. He's proven himself as a hardworking campaigner, both in knocking off Carol Schwartz in the 2008 Republican primary, and beating Ward 1 school board member Dotti Love Wade last year. (Mara, by the way, has been a school board member for just over two weeks now. Granted, it does seem like an almost worthless gig.)

Mara will also have the backing of the well-run D.C. GOP, and might be an attractive candidate to Republicans nationwide, who probably get a kick out of seeing one of their own elected in such a deep blue city.

Special elections are all about locking up your base, and Mara can claim ownership of the city's 30,000 registered Republicans, who don't often get to cast votes that may actually count for something. If Mara managed to get most of those folks fired up and to the polls, he could probably win the low-turnout election easily without needing a single Democratic vote.

But Mara's will also be courting Democrats, and is hoping his fiscal conservatism coupled with his moderate stances on social issues (he's for gay marriage) will help him win some converts. The most obvious target Mara could shoot for is supporters of former Mayor Adrian Fenty, who might still be feeling a little raw from last year's shellacking. But Mara might feel a little squeezed. Recently appointed Councilmember Sekou Biddle, former Fenty campaign aide Josh Lopez, and former DDOT Director Gabe Klein (who may run) will also be hunting for Fenty-voters.

Worth noting: In his announcement, Mara takes a subtle jab at Biddle, who was appointed to position earlier this year by the D.C. Democratic State Committee with the backing of several sitting councilmembers.

"If you want to ignore our problems, vote for a candidate who is cozy with the powerful politicians and special interests who got us into this mess," Mara says.

Sekou, over to you.

  • 16th Street

    Sekou Biddle, don't quit your permanent job.

  • Oh my goodness

    The same well run GOP that threw it's full weight behind Schwartz who was bested by Mara? Think not.

  • Oh my goodness

    The same well run DC GOP who with 30K registered voters and 4 candidates for Council that managed to get 2645 or 8.8% of them to vote. Think again.

  • 16th Street

    Underestimate Mara's crossover appeal at your own peril, "Oh my goodness."

    He didn't win School Board in Ward One on GOP votes alone.

  • Shelly

    Didn't LL warn us this may happen? How many folks who voted for Mara in Ward One knew who is was? I know several people who didn't even know there was a race and voted for him because they got a flyer before going in to vote.

  • Lewless

    man - the you tube video is just terrible! look in the camera, memorize a few lines even. yikes.

  • Oh my goodness

    @16th Street,

    I don't have a problem with Mara. I wish him the best and may vote for him like I did Catania. The problem I have is the article's line that says "Mara will also have the backing of the well-run D.C. GOP"

    Clearly LL is too much of a newbie to realize the same "well-run D.C. GOP" threw all their support behind Carol. Maybe LL should stay in MD and report on his own state's politics.

  • Frederick Douglass

    Patrick Mara is the epitome of a grandstanding opportunist!

    He states "I'm not a member of the club; and I never will be" and "If you want to ignore our problems, vote for a candidate who is cozy with the powerful politicians and special interests who got us into this mess!"


    The only reason Mr. Mara has any name recognition at all is because he was bankrolled by rich, corporate local interests when he ran against former Councilmember, and true rebel against the status quo, Carol Schwartz. Who took beaucoup bucks from the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the DC Chamber of Commerce's Political Action Committee, and Real Estate and Parking Lot Interests; none-other-than "who? sweet lil' ol' me?" Patrick Mara! And why was Mr. Mara bankrolled by super-rich special interests; because Carol Schwartz had the nerve to introduce and pass legislation that provided DC's minimum wage workers three to five sick days with pay per year. This is the foundation of his pious righteousness!

    Mr. Mara is a perfect example of a slick Tea Party Republican who will lie through his teeth to your face as he panders behind your back to the very status quo he claims to abhor!

    And lets not let Mr. Mara get away with his Tea Party Republican revisionism about "who got us into this mess." It was baby fenty, OLD MAN evans, Muriel "the poodle" Bowser, David "Stepford Wife Robot" Catania, and Jimmy "you don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows" Graham who spent one billion dollars in District taxpayer subsidized, financial reserves over the past four years. Thank the Lord Vince Gray, Mary Cheh, Phil Mendelson, Harry Thomas, Jr., Kwame Brown, Yvette Alexander, Michael Brown, and Marion Barry had the courage and decency to stand up for the taxpayers of the District of Columbia against the George W. Bush loving clique that ran our local government for the last four years! And let's not forget the DC Democratic State Committee, in Mr. Mara's eyes, our own local version of ACORN, UNIONS and the Communist Manifesto all rolled into one, never ever supported baby fenty and his clique!

    Finally, if Mr. Mara is such a holier-than-thou budget hawk, and protector of the Public Purse, why is he running for at-large in the first place? Why is he intentionally creating the possible need for another special election and the further spending of valuable and limited financial resources? Why isn't Mr. Mara encouraging and supporting a David Hedgepeth candidacy? Where is Mr. Mara's selflessness during this period of fiscal crisis?

    Patrick Mara, what a phony!

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jason Cherkis

    Where was Mara these last few years? When the apparent special interests got us into this budget shortfall? The video itself is pretty bad. It's so bland it could be a Simpsons parody.

    Shouldn't candidates move away from making cheap videos like this post-Loughner?

  • Grace Jones

    Seeing this man in the video reminds me of a circus clown. I hope he's not a member of the Tea Party and hangs out with Sarah Palin.

  • drez

    If I was inclined to vote (R), I'd prefer to write in Carol.
    By now, I'm good at writing candidates in. :)
    But maybe not. The DC Dem party does need a kick in the *ss. Too much of a good thing is still too much.

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