Loose Lips

Michael Brown Drops Out of D.C. Council Race

Michael Brown has dropped out of the special election for the at-large D.C. Council seat set for April 23.

He just told campaign staff and volunteers in a meeting moments ago, according to a person in the meeting, which is closed to the media. Brown told the meeting he was quitting for family reasons.

"It is with extreme disappointment that I am announcing my withdrawal from the At-Large Council race," Brown says in a written statement he handed to LL after telling staff and volunteers about his decision. "I have some very important personal and family matters that require my immediate attention. Thank you to my family, friends, and supporters for your understanding. I will not be making an endorsement. Vote Democrat!"

LL had heard that Brown might drop out and asked him if he was quitting the race just before Brown went into his campaign headquarters in Adams Morgan tonight. Brown didn't deny he was dropping out, but said he wanted to talk to campaign staff first.

Brown is a former one-term councilmember who lost a re-election bid last November to little-known David Grosso after running a lackluster, disorganized campaign. Brown blamed the loss on what he said was the theft of more than $110,000 worth of campaign funds by Hakim Sutton, his former treasurer. Sutton has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime, though a recent report by the Office of Campaign Finance says he violated campaign finance rules by writing 34 checks to himself.

Brown's recent campaign appears to have been much better organized, though his fundraising so far has not been spectacular. He's also been the target of attack by ex-offender advocates, who say Brown mislead them on a bill that would have extended protections for people with criminal records.

Seeking his old job back this spring, on the campaign trail Brown has tried to contrast himself with his opponents by saying there's been "no bigger champion" among D.C.'s politicians for the city's less fortunate.

"I have a lot of unfinished business," Brown said at the Ward 7 Democrats forum on March 23. "That's why we want to get back to the Council."

Earlier today, his Twitter account said he was "on a roll":

At a recent Ward 8 Democrats forum, Brown said he wasn't bothered by the attacks.

"Clearly, this is something that I enjoy, which is public service even with all the drama that comes with it," Brown told forumgoers. "I think you have to sacrifice yourself for your beliefs. And my beliefs are trying to make sure, as a third generation Washingtonian, making sure this city stays the way I remember it."

It's unclear if this marks the end of Brown's political career.

Brown has struggled to emerge from the long shadow cast by his successful father, Ron Brown, the first African-American chairman of the Democratic National Committee and secretary of commerce under President Bill Clinton. Ron Brown was killed in a plane crash in 1996. As part of a investigation into his father before he died, federal investigators probed Michael Brown's role in an Oklahoma natural-gas-pipeline company owned by friends of Ron Brown. The investigation eventually led to Brown pleading guilty in 1997 to a campaign finance violation in which Brown was part of a straw donor scheme.

Brown ran unsuccessfully for mayor and for the Ward 4 Council seat before finally winning an at-large seat in 2008. To win, Brown changed his party affiliation to an independent so he could be eligible for one of the two non-majority party seats on the Council mandated by Home Rule. He switched back to the Democratic Party as soon as his term was over earlier this year.

Michael Brown has been looking after his ailing mother, Alma Brown, for some time now. At forums it's not uncommon for Brown to mention to the crowd that he might need to leave early to be with his mother or be on his phone during the debate to check on her status.

Brown's departure from the race is likely to be a boost to Councilmember Anita Bonds' chances: Bonds and Brown were likely to split votes among African-Americans in the eastern half of the city.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Tom M

    Dang man. It may be the first time that i can remember that i pull the lever for a GOP candidate (Mara) simply to support the only person who may be able to defeat Bond. Wonder what the unions are offering up to Brown for his sword falling feat? Watch this space....

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  • 20011

    This is the best news I've heard all day. Never though he had the stones nor dignity, to do the right thing and just flat out quit. Get a real job, loser. See you in Chevy Chase.

  • Sandra Renee Hicks

    Hi -

    Ref: March 25, 2013 topic, "Michael Brown Sued Again Over Alleged Missed Rent":

    My posted comments March 25, 2013:

    Hi -

    Michael Brown is a bum who needs to take his dog and pony show and ride off into the sunset.

    He's NOT going back into the Wilson Building, except maybe as a visitor.

  • NE John


  • Andrea Rosen

    Tom M - You are making a BIG mistake. If you're a lifelong Dem, why would you vote for Mara? He's a dyed in the wool Republican who even took Grover Norquist's pledge. If that isn't the sign of looser, what is?

  • IAmNotALiberalDemocrat

    Good riddance....

    There's no one worth voting for in this race. Patrick Mara is an opportunist and he's looking at the 6 figure part time salary as the other candidates. Patrick Mara has run several times for the D.C. Council seat. I'm not voting for Mara, not because he's a Republican. He doesn't have any substance. We need some moderate Republicans on the D.C. Council because the Council is too liberal and too far to the left. If they go any further left, they will fall into the Potomac River.

  • BarbaraWard1

    @Imnotaliberal vote for Elissa, she is so far left you'll end up in the Mississippi

  • KeepIt100

    Well wishes to Ron Brown's widow. But yes, this is positive news for Anita Bonds.

  • http://newbrightwoodianblog.com Nisa

    I am not surprised he dropped out of the race. He needed to. There was no chance of him winning. i was not going to vote for him anyway but that means I have a difficult choice. Do I go with Pat Mara, or Elissa Silverman. Notice I left out Anita Bonds who for me is not a reliable choice either.

  • Jes’ sayin’

    Word on the street is that a recent poll showed Bonds and Mara neck and neck with Brown third....Silverman and Frumin in high single digits and Redd bringing up the rear.

    With Brown out, that means Bonds is probably in the lead, with Mara second and the others still far behind.

    Bonds has to be the favorite as the organization candidate, with the "reformers" all splitting the rest of the vote.

  • DesertRat

    Gotta give the Black Establishment credit - they got their act together this time. Bought off M.Brown, kept other blacks from filing. Now it's one serious black candidate - A.Bonds - versus three serious whites - Frumin, Silverman, Mara. Bonds racks up the votes in Wards 8,7,5, whites split the rest three ways, game over. I'm voting Mara to fight corruption.

  • Sally

    Frumin and Silverman have no chance; they will split the non-Bonds vote, thereby ensuring a Bonds victory. Same thing happened with the Mara-Biddle-Weaver vote-splitting that ensured a Vincent Orange win.

    Myopic little twits never learn.

  • anons

    ""I have some very important personal and family matters that require my immediate attention"

    i.e., I am about to be indicted.

    Thank god he is out. Lets hope he stays that way for all future elections too.

  • drez

    Looks like Bonds is a shoe-in, with Mara, Frumin, and Silverman competing with eachother.
    Too bad.

  • DC

    "Brown has struggled to emerge from the long shadow cast by his successful father, Ron Brown"

    That's one way to put it. In another, more accurate, way: "Brown has struggled to succeed in politics despite owing his entire career to an immensely popular father."

  • ScottS

    The best thing you could have done, because you were gonna get exposed for your personal issues, as well as getting smoked but better candidates.

  • sticktoyourguns


  • Barrie Daneker

    I'll be voting for Anita Bonds. Anita has given decades of public service to DC. She been there for members of the community when they have needed her. Mara is a lair, tax cheat, screwed his clients out of money...and the rest of the Dems bring nothing that is noteworthy to the table. ANITA WE NEED HER!

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  • name

    "Anita has given decades of public service to DC"

    Anita has spent decades facilitating theft from DC coffers, ensuring that black-only candidates can win, then steal from the poorest and the neediest to create a PG based black "Upper Class".

  • Chgobluesguy

    No ill wishes for Michael Brown in his private life, but the man never grew up. Can't be trusted with donor's money, can't pay his own bills on time, can't be serious about his party affiliation, can't be honest that he lied about being an All-Met baller at Mackin (if he was he'd have been offered a four-year ride at a major program). Sometimes political legends' kids can't fill the parent's shoes.

  • sticktoyourguns

    and to add to what Barrie Daneker stated she is committing crimes while serving as a temp at the council now. She has been doing campaign work out of her city council office and terminated an employee who blew the whistle on her. Yeah this is who should be elected right....NOT!

  • truth hurts

    Yesterday, Grosso (and Kathy Patterson) publicly endorsed Elissa Silverman, citing in particular her commitment to end corporate pay to play campaign financing. Of course, Silverman is the ONLY candidate who has refused corporate money. She's the ONLY Democratic candidate who has promised to make the at-large job a full-time job. And she was the first candidate to publicly call for Graham's censure.

    Contrast Bonds, who works for one of the city's largest contractors, is backed by Evans and Bowser, is raking in dough from Wilmot and his band of taxpayer fed fat cats, and who already is under an ethical cloud. She, like Evans, didn't criticize Graham's shenanigans until it became clear that Graham and Barry were the only CM's backing Graham.

    If you want an honest, ethical CM -- one who doesn't listen to fat cats just trying to get fatter, take 5 friends to the polls and vote for Silverman. Otherwise, you'll get 4 years of Bonds or Mara. Think about it.

  • truth hurts

    Forgot to mention Orange is tweeting compliments to Bonds and her band of bag-men financiers. More of the same.

  • tntdc

    I have a feeling Brown is now at least debt-free.

  • Lukas

    This news simply paves the way for Anita Bonds, while Mara, Frumin and Silverman split the rest of the significant vote.

    Silverman doesn't take corporate money because no corporation would give her a dime. Why would they? She is a tax and spend politician who hasn't seen a tax or fee she doesn't like. She will get the same 6,000-8,000 votes that Shapiro and Weaver received.

  • gilla

    A lot of the myopic little twits are new residents who came here to work a politics/policy job, right? Then how do they not have the ability to dedicate their energies to one candidate and thus split the vote to an unpopular establishment candidate election after election? For a bunch of self-described wonks their political sense is really lacking. The establishment knows how to play the game. Hell, the tea party has learned to do this on a national level (see the Indiana 2010 and 2012 senate Republican primaries) but the twits don't get it? Idealism comes back to bit you in the arse sometimes.

  • FormerBrownSupporter

    As a strong Brown Supporter I urge all of Micheal's supports to endorse and support Anita Bonds. I always repected her years of public service for DC. She is truly in it for the people. She has the experience and passion for representing the invisable DC residnets who need a stong progessive advocate. Homlessness, Affordable housing, jobs training, are amongst the issues most importnat to me that is why I am not supporting Ms. Bonds. She is the heavey favorite to win this race now that Brown is out. She will rack up tons of votes in Wards 5,7, and 8 amongs African Americans in DC. While the white vote will be split between Silverman, Mara, and Fruiman. If indeed a big wig in the DNC, or Dem Donor offered Brown a $200,000+ job to get him out of race it is okay with me cuz we really need to council member who cares about the long time residents and their quility of life not just coporate and business interest. I think either Bonds and Brown fit that bill. Anita all the WAY!!

    Former Brown suppoerter

  • tony


  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    "Years of public service for DC" = funneling DC tax dollars to P.G. County contractors like "Urban Kleptocracy Solutions, LLC."

  • Dan

    Vote Anita Bonds

  • Ryan

    I guess an investigation is underway!

  • name

    Brown's name will still be on the ballot. That should confuse enough of the old illiterates.

  • Ward 6

    FormerBrownSupporter What are you trying to say? “As a strong Brown Supporter I urge all of Micheal's supports to endorse and support Anita Bonds.” But later you wrote;” that is why I am NOT supporting Ms. Bonds.”

    If you are representative of Brown’s campaign staff, I now understand why he was losing and dropped out.

  • James Ward 2

    R/T [Comment #12 by Sally made on 8:19am on April 3rd, 2013]

    Sally's analysis is spot on:

    "Frumin and Silverman have no chance; they will split the non-Bonds vote, thereby ensuring a Bonds victory. Same thing happened with the Mara-Biddle-Weaver vote-splitting that ensured a Vincent Orange win."

  • KeepIt100

    Bonds will carry wards 5,7 and 8 and a significant number in 4. Frumin, Silverman, Mara will split the rest of the vote.

    Bonds wins. Unfortunately, I am indifferent on her.

  • southeast lady

    american voters at the county, city, state and federal government need to stop, stop, stop looking at legacy and tribal voting. Michael Brown is a disgrace to his father's legacy and good name. He needs to get a real job and earn an honest income. Get out of the public eye.

    I can't stand him for that smirk on his face, ruining his late father's name and whatever shenigans he has been involved in.

    Get a real job, maybe like scrubbing toilets and floors.


  • southeast lady

    I can't stand anybody on the DC council. They are nothing but a bunch of thieves, crooks and criminal. They should all be in jail.

  • Michael Brown Supporter

    Now we know why... HA-HA

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