Loose Lips

Teacher Tierra Jolly Beats Longtime Activist Phil Pannell in Ward 8 Race

jollyTeacher Tierra Jolly triumphed over rival Philip Pannell in a low-turnout vote today for the special election for the Ward 8 State Board of Education seat, according to preliminary results from the D.C. Board of Elections.

Longtime activist Pannell had the weight of much of the ward's establishment behind him, including a late-breaking endorsement from Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry. Still, Jolly managed to win 49 percent of the vote, while Pannell received 42 percent.

Earlier in the day, Pannell complained that the little-known race had less excitement than a monastery. Indeed, just 2.6 percent of Ward 8 voters—1,433 people—turned out to vote. The special election will cost around $300,000, according to the DCBOE.

At her election party, Jolly described herself as "overwhelmed" by her win in what she describes as a position focused on community organizing.

Pannell, who had worried earlier about the effects of a national group's pro-Jolly mailers on the race, opted not to blame the mailers for his loss tonight as he headed to his opponent's victory party.

“She ran a better campaign and got more votes," Pannell says. "That’s it.”

Photo courtesy of Tierra Jolly

  • DC

    I apologize if this question is a bit untoward, but is she white? If so, that would obviously be quite a story for Ward 8 to vote that way. Perhaps she's multiracial, but even if she's only half white, that's pretty significant for Ward 8, no?

    And good on Pannell for the classy response.

  • Smh

    She's mixed and a life-long Ward 8 resident.

  • DCCommish

    Congrats! She'll at least stick with it!

  • Michael Smith

    I'm sorry race shouldn't have anything to do with it. That's become the biggest problem with America. She's a well educated individual who has live in that area all or most of her life. She's a teacher not a activist or politician. So she come to the Board as an educator. Something that most boards lack. Most politicians in Government think and believe they know more than the people that do the job day in and day out. Her biggest problem is that she still will have to deal with people who really don't give a dam about the kids or how to motivate kids of all backgrounds to excel beyond the streets academically, athletically and socially (without drugs or babies having babies).

  • Smh

    Amen, Michael Smith.

  • lost cause

    so tired of people running in races but never having done anything for others before.

  • Garden Teacher

    Mr. Pannell is being the gentleman that he always is, but let's be real, Jolly got 80% of her nearly $10,000 war chest from big-money out-of-state groups who are looking to privatize and de-unionized education.

    Pannell was the grassroots candidate, not Jolly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeterJOrvetti Peter Orvetti

    I don't begrudge Trayon White accepting a job with DPR, but I'd think the city might have taken into account that offering him such a job would cost $300,000 for a special election. Maybe they should have given him a job that started at the end of his term?

  • tony

    Phil was the best person for the position between the two. It's clear that the few Ward 8 voters were dissatisfied with Phil for an assortment of reasons and Jolly simply benefitted for that dissatisfaction.

    The very low turn-out clearly indicates that majority of Ward 8 voters found both candidates unappealing. Less than 3 percent of the registered voters voted. This is telling.

    Moreover, I believe that the new young black leaders, many who are openly gay, emerging in Ward 8 seems to be more comfortable with white interlopers than the Ward 8 Black Establishment. It seems that they wish to forge a coalition with these “new partners” to carry out an “undefined” political agenda. Herein lies the problem.

    I suggest that Ward 8 Black Establishment began to recruit and train more black young leaders with “traditional” values so as to protect their way of life.

    Finally, the result of the race points to one thing for sure. Ward 8 voters are not too interested in openly black gay candidates. In fact, that’s a reality city-wide. Never before in the history of this city has the black community elected an openly gay black person to the school board, council or Mayor’s office, NEVER!

    I have a strong hunch that this fact had much to do with Phil’s defeat than anything that Jolly offered.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Phil has been a constant advocate for the best interest of Ward 8. I respect his devotion to not only his Ward but the City at-large. I do hope he continues his public advocacy.

  • Word2theWyz

    Tony, all I can say is: bless your heart! And that's not a compliment.

  • tony


    Not interested in accolades. I don't need them.

  • Typical DC BS

    I don't often agree with Tony, but I always read his comments and try to "walk in his shoes".

  • tony

    @Typical DC BS,


    I just sense that you know where I am coming from. I am clear that you are a conservative with very strong conservative views. While I may not agree with them, I respect your right to have them and voice them.

    Clearly, you are very politically astute and you know that politics is a very tough game. Unfortunately, too many of my folks just don't understand that!.

    Black folks must understand that politics is very important because it’s the arena where the distribution of resources takes place. And unless, we have people who share our views and agenda become part of that process we will not share in those resources. And no people or community can prosper without having access to sufficient resources.

  • M. Jolly

    @Garden Teacher, Tierra Jolly got the bulk of her money from out of state friends and family members NOT groups. It was hard earned money that we donated because we believed she was what the ward needed. The groups she was backed by that sent out flyers on her behalf did that on their own without her permission. No money was given to her campaign by them. Did you notice the lack of signs or the homemade signs at the polls yesterday? Those were made out of love not cash. Her campaign worked their butts off for the past months. They walked every inch of the ward to get the word out everyday no matter what the weather for a little over two months. They ran a great campaign and won that race with hard work and sweat. The people of Ward 8 had their say yesterday.

  • tony

    "The people of Ward 8 had their say yesterday."

    97 PERCENT OF WARD 8 VOTERS DID NOT SAY AT ALL... But I am sure they will the next time around since this was just a "special" election.

    Clearly, no one really think that "7oo" voters represents "The people of Ward 8".

  • Mike


    I'm interested in learning more about this "undefined agenda" that young black leaders who are openly gay possess. Will you enlighten me?


  • M. Jolly

    It is not unusual for low turnout in Ward 8. If Phil had won, low turnout wouldn't be an issue I bet. Those 704 votes WERE the people of Ward 8. They had their say. Phil's people should have spoke louder.

  • tony

    It was a very low turn out for a reason. Moreover, yesterday's turn-out was exceptionally low. If Phil had the backing of National Organizations who poured excessive resources into his campaign as they did for Jolly, I bet we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    The election was illegally and unduly influenced by outside forces to benefit a particular candidate with nefarious intent.

    BTW, 97 percent of the voters opted not to vote for Jolly. That being said, I don't believe that WARD 8 voters could have SPOKEN any LOUDER.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    Wow tony, you are really reaching in these final days of One City, eh?

    If you would, please answer the following questions:

    1. What was the reason for very low turnout?
    2a. Are you an attorney?
    2b. What are the illegal and undue influences that you refer to?
    3. How can you prove that the 97% of voters chose not to vote for Jolly as opposed to just choosing not to vote.

    I figure since you speak as though you have the answers, might as well give concrete proof, no?

    Please and thank you.

  • tony

    @Roscoe's Wetsuit write:

    --"If you would, please answer the following questions:"

    For the what purpose. To satisfy you?

  • Mike


    I'm interested in learning more about this "undefined agenda" that young black leaders who are openly gay possess. Also, what are traditional values and do you think these black openly gay leaders don't hold them? Will you enlighten me?


  • tony


    I mean no disrespect but I honestly don't believe that such an issue really deserves much discussion.

    No offense.

  • Mike


    Not offended at all. Too often, folks make divisive out of desperation and ignorance. I was hoping this wasn't the present case.


  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony, not just to satisfy me at all. Simply to provide some proof behind all the wild speculation in your posts, which, for all their sound and fury, signify nothing.

    Carry on with the unsubstantiated nonsense since credibility doesn't seem to be a concern.

  • Maceo

    congratulations ms jolly! it's great to see some freshness in ward 8! i don't vote in ward 8, but met one of her campaign volunteers all the way in ward 7 sharing info about her. i hope fresh voices keep that in mind when it's time to choose a new CM there.

  • tony

    @Roscoe's Wetsuit,

    I know you're proud to be the WCP self-appointed Judge of legitimacy.

    What a Honor.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @Mike, I gather you have now learned that when pushed, the onecitidiots will decline to engage as they prefer to throw accusations and hyperbole from afar.

    @tony, as I suspected. Keep on keepin' on. I look forward to the next 10,000 posts of your "facts", offered without any substantiation.

  • M. Jolly

    "BTW, 97 percent of the voters opted not to vote for Jolly. That being said, I don't believe that WARD 8 voters could have SPOKEN any LOUDER."

    Wow, Tony. Does that really make sense to you? The same 97% also did not vote for Pannell. You really think that 97% of the voters were protesting that Jolly was on the ticket illegally as you say? If so, then they deserve what they got. And since you think that Jolly is such a bad candidate that must suck for you and them.
    Ohm,, by the way, Jolly is black. Do you not support her because she isn't gay? That statement makes about as much sense (NONE!!) as any of the ones you have been making.

  • tony

    @Roscoe's Wetsuit,

    Right On! I will keep pushing!

    @M. Jolly

    --Wow, Tony. Does that really make sense to you? The same 97% also did not vote for Pannell.

    Thats my point. The majority of Ward 8 registered voters found both candidates unappealing. And the result of the election is not representative of the people's will.

    --You really think that 97% of the voters were protesting that Jolly was on the ticket illegally as you say?

    I said the contributions she received from national organizations who did mailers for her without the required disclaimer made such efforts illegal. And all political mailers are designed to do one thing: influence the outcome of elections.

    --If so, then they deserve what they got. And since you think that Jolly is such a bad candidate that must suck for you and them.

    I don't personally know the lady and don't care to know her. You understand!

    --Ohm,, by the way, Jolly is black. Do you not support her because she isn't gay?

    So now she's going to convince everyone that she's a black lady. Man, you people really think black folks are stupid. BTW, I have nothing against black gay candidates or I would not have supported Phil. But, I rather support straight black candidates who believes in traditional values.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony - so now you somehow know what the "people's will" is in Ward 8? Perhaps this quote will resonate:

    "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting" - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Keep making excuses, tony. It's endlessly entertaining.

  • Jelani Tendai

    Race should be besides the point. What ward 8 needs is good, honest, dilligent representation, PERIOD.

    It's really a shame that people get so bogged down with their respective race cards.

  • M. Jolly

    "Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting" - Franklin Delano Roosevelt - Perfect quote!

    "What ward 8 needs is good, honest, dilligent representation, PERIOD." That is exactly what Ward 8 just voted in.

    Bottom line, Jolly won. All else is irrelevant.


    She won because she is "easy on the eyes" and hopefully competent.

    Is she single? She can get "smashed".

    For real! Thats all, carry on! LOL.

  • Deborah A Dessaso

    As one of those few Ward 8 members who voted, all I can say is that those who didn't vote needn't complain when the forces of change, which are already moving throughout Ward 8, take major steps throughout the ward (e.g. condos, both new and from converted apartment buildings, single-family homes, and Homeland Security) force Ward 8 residents to catch the fast train to who knows where.

    Having said this, I won't say who I voted for, because it's not relevant for this discussion.

  • tony

    I will say this and I am finished with this matter until the next election.

    This message is especially for black voters who vote for people they don't know.


  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony, taking your ball and going home? So sad. Was fun watching your silly arguments get crushed over the course of this thread.

  • tony

    So say the man in ROSCOE'S WETSUIT.SMH^

    I know it frustrating trying to discredit this black man before his own. You right, it's not working. But keep trying, we appreciate your earnest effort.

    Unfortunately for you, black folks can't be tricked anyone. We are a smart, educated and independent people who don't want to live on your plantation.

    Mrs. Jolly snucked into office but her stay will be short lived. That seat will return to its rightful owner. MARK MY WORDS!

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony, in what world is the newly elected board of Ed member not the seat's rightful owner?

    I have no need to try and discredit you - you do a fine job yourself. And, for someone crowing about being smart and educated - "snucked"?

  • tony

    @Roscoe's Wetsuit,

    There goes the man in Roscoe's Wetsuit again with his feeble attempt to discredit a free black man.

    Thats right. I wrote "snucked" and I meant to add the "ed" to that word. When you are FREE you can do that!

    BTW, you are the same clown who argued for Bowser to beat Gray in the primary. Now, you favor Catania over Bowser. Your contempt for blacks can be no more obvious.

    You talk about being discredited. Man, black folks can see right through you. Take my word for it! I know that will be hard. Try anyway.

  • Chatham

    Eh… Bonds won Ward 8 with only 4.5% of the voters voting (2013 special election). Voters in the ward (and the city) might be dissatisfied with politics, but the low turnout in this election is pretty consistent with what’s come before.

  • tony


    You make a valid point. The only difference is that Bonds ran city-wide where a greater number of voters participated.

    Again, you are right that "special" elections tend to net low turn- outs. But the idea of just 704 votes out of 50 thousand voters expressing the "will of the people" seems to be a bit dubious.

  • Chatham

    Yeah, if an At-Large Council race had such a low turnout, I’d be surprised if a local board of elections race wasn’t even lower. When was the last time an election outside the general broke 50%? I looked at the 2010 Democratic primary which I think would represent the higher end of things, and even then it’s only 40% citywide (31.4% in Ward 8). From my experience, even the people who do show up to vote don’t know much about the candidates.

    Though it should be pointed out that DC isn’t an outlier here (one just has to look at the turnout in MD or VA).

  • tony


    Again, your points are well taken and your analogy analysis is very sound.

    Again, it's a fact that “special” elections historically net low turn-out. And such elections are as legitimate as any other election.

    However, that does not change the fact that elections with very low turn outs ARE NOT a "true" or "accurate" expression of the people's will."

    I don't think it’s fair to say that those who do not vote are “uninformed” voters who should be disqualified and dismissed as stakeholders within the political process.

  • Chatham

    Just pointing out that people are so uninformed about and disengaged from local politics that even with mandatory voting you wouldn’t necessarily get the will of the people. Matt Yglesias is supposedly paid to read about and pontificate on politics, yet right before the mayoral primary he took to Twitter for advice on who to vote for (and ended up going with Gray because of…Gray's opposition to the height limit). Ask a lot of people who they voted for a day or two after the election, and they’ll remember the mayoral candidate, then start struggling (“I voted for…something Johnson? Was there a Johnson running for something?”).

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony, aww you're still keeping at it! That's adorable! But, when pressed on your statements you continue to make things up.

    Of course I supported Muriel over Vince and his merry band of imbeciles and also rans. All I have ever said about Catania is that this election will have two good candidates, which is a rarity. I encourage you to find a single instance where I said that I prefer Catania to Bowser. You won't, of course, but keep making things up for your "analogy analysis" as you say.

    Pure comedy.

  • tony


    The point is understood. Nice discussion.

    @Roscoe's Wetsuit,

    Go make some friends. That lonely life is getting to you.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @tony, that's the best you can do? Must be tough to be called out on your nonsense. Maybe someday you'll start making statements you can back up. Until then, I look forward to having a good chuckle or two over your posts.

  • tony

    Enjoy. lol!

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