Michael Brown: SOL?
Yesterday came the news that At-Large D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown had parted ways with his campaign treasurer, Hakim Sutton, whose home was searched by the police. Brown says a bunch of campaign moula was stolen, but won't say who took it or how much.
LL hears that it's no small amount that's disappeared, and indeed, Brown told reporters today that it was a large enough amount for him to call the police and consider a civil suit to try and recoup the cash.
Brown's up for re-election in a city-wide race this November against multiple candidates vying for the coveted non-majority-party-second-place slot. One opponent, David Grosso, has raised a respectable $75,000 so far.
Brown's last filing put his total at $150,000, with about $115,000 cash on hand. Let's say for argument's sake that almost all of that money is gone. How big a blow is the alleged theft? Well, it could be a lot worse.
Brown, the son of former Democratic National Committee head and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, has contacts throughout the country and has not had problems raising money in the past. In his successful 2008 bid, he raised more than $420,000. In 2006, in a no-chance mayoral run, he raised more than $315,000. So the dude can raise some money. (Though do note that Brown is not allowed a mulligan and can't go back for more money to donors who have already maxed out with $1,000 donations, even if their donations were later stolen.)
Also consider that Brown is now head of the D.C. Council's economic development committee, which tends to help a pol's fundraising prowess. When Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown was head of the committee in 2008, he raised more than $825,000. Sure, he only reported $690,000, but you get the idea: economic development also means campaign war chest development.
In certain regards, Brown's fortunate that this alleged theft occurred in June, and not closer to the November election. There's still plenty of time to recover. And LL's not heard any political prognosticators predict that Brown will have much trouble winning re-election. This is a man whose name alone, after all, put a scare into Council Chairman Phil Mendelson two years ago.
The only pain Brown might feel is if he wanted not only to win, but to win big enough to send a message to potential competitors in a future mayor's race. Winning may be easy, but winning big takes some cash.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery