Phil Mendelson Is Trying to Move the Primary Date Again
D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson's attempts to move next year's primary from April 1 to June 9 have failed so far, but he'll give it another shot when the Council meets on Tuesday. Once again, though, Mendelson isn't sure whether he has the votes he needs.
"I think it's so fundamentally wrong for us to have an April 1 primary that I have to put it out there," Mendelson tells LL.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton has come out against the April primary, but support outside the Council for moving the primary hasn't translated into action inside of it. Legislation introduced in May that would have moved the primary date is stuck in the government operations committee, while Mendelson pulled an emergency bill in July that would do the same thing after realizing it lacked the necessary nine votes.
Besides the symbolism of holding the District's primary on April Fool's Day, opponents of the April primary say it would create too little time for challengers to collect signatures and too much time for lame duck politicians to legislate. A councilmember ousted in an April Democratic primary, Mendelson points out, could stay on the Council for nine months before leaving office the following January.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery