Patterson: Dems Arm-Twisting Hard For Biddle
At-large candidate Jacque Patterson says he's "pissed off" about all the calls he's been getting, supposedly on behalf of the District's top elected officials, to drop out of the April special election.
"I'm in this race, don't call me no more," Patterson says is his unofficial response.
Patterson, president of the Ward 8 Democrats, wouldn't name names of the people who are calling him or the elected officials on whose behalf the calls are being made. But he did say the theme of the calls is that local Democrats are concerned Patterson will play a "spoiler" in the April special election and allow Republican Pat Mara to knock off Sekou Biddle, who recently won the D.C. Democratic State Committee's temporary appointment and the backing of several elected officials.
Mayor Vince Gray recently echoed the same theme when he endorsed Biddle. Gray told Post reporters he's seeking to avoid a repeat of the 1997 election, in which a young then-Republican David Catania won. Gray also said he'd talk to other Democratic candidates and try and convince them to line up behind Biddle.
It sounds like the new mayor can save his breath with Patterson. "Mr. Biddle has to stand on his own two feet," says Patterson.
He adds that there are major differences between 1997 and now, starting with the caliber of the Republican candidate. "I'm like, Patrick Mara is not David Catania," he says. In a letter to Democratic State Committee members, Patterson adds that Mara should not be considered a "boogyman" and doesn't have Catania's "resume, or record of service."
Patterson also says that some of his campaign staffers are "being threatened concerning their ability to work on other campaigns in the future." His campaign spokeswoman Natalie Williams says it's a little more subtle than that, but says that some Patterson campaign workers have been getting calls suggesting that working for Patterson might not be the best career move. "There's a level of inference" about playing on the "right team" in order to get future campaign or government work, says Williams.
"At the end of the day, we are hoping that the voters will recognize clubhouse politics, and instead, vote for substance," Williams said in a follow-up statement.
Again, Williams wasn't offering any names, so it's hard to check these allegations out.
In other news, today's the deadline for at-large candidates to file their first campaign finance reports. Or, put another way, a way to see who is a serious candidate and who is not. Patterson says he's raised nearly $20,000 and he's feeling good about his chances.
Below is Patterson's full letter to the DCDSC:
Good morning Fellow Democrats:
Throughout this entire process, I have defended the DC Democratic State Committee appointment process, to the point of defending it in the Washington Post. I supported the appointment process 100% even when I chose to not participate in that process. When candidates were asked on December 16th at the DCDSC candidate forum would they run if they did not get the appointment, each one of them said "yes". My decision to be candidate in this race, would not be any different than any other candidate currently in the race had I participated and won the appointment.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have received numerous calls from prominent local Democrats who I respect and admire, asking me to drop out of the race and consider the State Board of Education seat recently vacated by the unfortunate death of William Lockridge.
I am well aware of the politics that are played behind the scenes for a chosen candidate, because I have worked on campaigns and worked for candidates, but at this point it's not even about Mr. Biddle winning the appointment through arm-twisting. I respect the right for every person of this Body to chose the candidate of their choice and campaign for them as individuals, but I question the INTEGRITY of this body and the individuals who would like to make Mr. Biddle not only the appointed candidate but also the endorsed candidate of our Party. I have been a fair and honest candidate throughout these initial stages of this campaign. I have related to every Democrat who has called me that I am in this race until the very end. Now I have people on my campaign being threatened concerning their ability to work on other campaigns in the future. I've been told by people they can't support me publicly because they don't want to lose business pending before the Council.
INTEGRITY. What is this Party if their is no integrity? How do we build this Party if we are willingly to allow this Special Election to be taken over by special interest individuals who aren't necessarily supporting the best candidate, but building personal political power. We are suppose to be the "Party of the People", yet it's politics that are taking precedence here. Not one person who I've talked to who has asked me to drop out has stated as the reason that I'm not qualified to serve our residents. That I don't have the experience. Some have actually said I would be a "great" councilmember. But their reasoning has been that this what a particular elected official wants, or we don't want a repeat of 1997 now that GOP Patrick Mara has entered the race.
I congratulate Mr. Biddle for winning the appointment phase of this Special Election, but no candidate get's a free ride because he has won one aspect of an election cycle. I would hope that this Party is just as concerned about the quality of service of our Democratic candidate who wins the Special Election and not just focused on "keeping the seat Democratic". Because if that's our focus, we lose in the long run with the people who look to us for leadership. Patrick Mara is not the boogyman! He is not David Catania. He doesn't have his resume, or record of service.
Fellow Democrats, I am in this race til the end. I'm in it because I bring a long history of service to this Body and to the residents of the District of Columbia. I have served my country for over 20 years in the armed services, I have served this city for over 15 years, along side many of you! I didn't get to where I am by any favors, being connected to someone or some group, but through hard work. Public trust is earned, not given. Each candidate must do this on their own. If we, as a Party, give away the trust the public has placed in us by dealing unethically in this Special Election by giving a clear advantage to one Democrat over another, than we lose public respect.