Loose Lips

Don Graham Endorses Muriel Bowser in Mayor’s Race

Kaya Henderson

Don Graham's family doesn't own the Washington Post anymore, but he still shares the Post editorial board's devotion to District schools chancellor Kaya Henderson.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the former Washington Post Co. CEO writes that he's going to vote for Muriel Bowser because he thinks David Catania will be too tough on Henderson.

"Elect him and we know what's coming: turnover today and probably more turnover tomorrow (since no one seems to satisfy David Catania except David Catania)," Graham writes.

Instead, Graham says he'll vote for Bowser because she'll keep Henderson and her staff in place.

Graham's endorsement doesn't came as much of a surprise. In February, Graham declared in a Post op-ed that Catania was a "bully" and the D.C. Council's "leading micro-manager."

Catania campaign manager Ben Young says his candidate welcomes a debate with Bowser or Graham on education policy. (After a summer-long dustup over when Bowser will debate, the candidates will face off first on Sept. 18.)

"Rather than name-calling in the press or online, if Mr. Graham or his endorsed candidate want to have a respectful and knowledgeable public discussion on education in the District, Councilmember Catania would be delighted to participate," Young writes in an email to LL.

Graham's backing comes at an awkward time in the mayor's race for Bowser, with Graham citing Bowser's support for Henderson, even as Bowser says she wants to cut the chancellor out of decisions over the school boundary changes. Mayor Vince Gray, no slouch himself on backing Henderson, calls excluding Henderson from boundary decisions "very unwise."

Meanwhile, Graham's former paper is undergoing some turnover of its own today.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • AGant

    Don Graham, is the fact that Catania has chosen to keep personnel decisions out of the race really the best idea you have on why to vote for Bowser? Seriously?! Sounds like another KNEE JERK response to please the Democratic party in DC. Instead, why not look at who will lead the city to results and who has taken the time to get to know the city's public schools. Perhaps check an article written in the POST for some education you CLEARLY need. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/dc-mayors-race-seen-as-pivoting-on-candidate-most-trusted-on-school-reform/2014/08/31/6f9eae3e-2e32-11e4-9b98-848790384093_story.html

  • Will_Sommer

    Graham linked to the article in his Facebook post. I thought it was an interesting jump-off to make his endorsement with, since that's probably the least flattering Post education article about Bowser that's run this cycle.

  • AGant

    Wow, hilarious. That Post article was accurate and also unflattering of Bowser. I can't believe he would link to that article and cite it as a reason to vote for Bowser. Thanks for the info, Will!

  • Henry Jones
  • Tbonebullets

    What a cynical endorsement -- anyone who can actually think will see there's no substance to Graham's stated reasons for endorsing Bowser. First, Bowser and Catania pretty much agree on the same fluff they've issued on education policy; any real difference waits to be seen at their debates. Second, Graham's telling us not to vote for Bowser, but for Chancellor Henderson: but isn't Bowser the one running? Has Catania ever said anything about firing the Chancellor, or should we just ASSUME he would fire her as Mayor? And, should we care whether the old chancellor should stay, or a new one come in? I'm not sold one way or the other. Third (and most importantly) what he's really doing is playing to race: Catania white, Bowser/Henderson black. If Bowser seems pretty milquetoast to everyone (after all, isn't she?), while Catania seems pretty competent; wait! Remember your duty to stand up and vote race! This is old-school democratic dog-whistling from an old-school democratic pol. None of his family EVER went to public school.

  • Tbonebullets

    That's some dodgy cr*p right there. NEITHER candidate is going to shut down charter schools in D.C., ever, considering how successful they are at saving a lot of kids from DCPS; even Chancellor Henderson acknowledges that. What's yer friggin' point posting this pap?

  • justsayin

    140+ visits to DCPS in all 8 wards, versus one entire hour spent at the Marriott Marquis playing housekeeper while pandering for a photo op. Not difficult to figure out who is hard at work, and whose playing at work.

  • justsayin


  • Citizen Gayn

    Too bad Donnie didn't think this through. He has a chance in this new phase of his life to be a civic and cultural influence in his own right. Certainly, he must see that an intellectually challenged, closeted lesbian, of low moral character and too easily led is a bad choice as a leader. Think where we would all be if his mother had been dumb lump of mud. Golly gee, Sally Quinn would still be "makin' the rent"!

    Clearly this was set up by the Bowser cronies to counterweight the "Lindenfield revelations". They probably nabbed Don via cellphone on the Vineyard ferry. Therefore this "endorsement" is not worth a bucket of warm spit.

  • Catania Gets My Vote

    I find Don Graham’s reason for endorsing Muriel Bowser insulting. Either
    Mr. Graham doesn’t think that our children deserve better or he doesn’t think
    that they can perform any better; at any rate he obviously feels that he can
    depend on Ms. Bowser to ensure that they don’t get a chance to show what they
    are truly capable of. Who cares if Ms. Henderson and her staff have
    failed to get the job done thus far, lets continue to send good money after bad
    without demanding that they do better, after all we don’t want to be too tough
    on her.

    Obviously, the fact that our children are currently performing
    poorly in school is ok with Mr. Graham as long as the next Mayor isn’t
    "too tough" on Ms. Henderson which he seems sure Ms. Bowser won’t be.
    Kaya Henderson is an educated adult that can fend for herself our
    children cannot. What’s best for our children is apparently the last
    thing on Mr. Graham’s mind and the last thing that Mr. Graham believes is on
    Ms. Bowser's mind. Apparently Mr. Graham is afraid that Mr. Catania will
    force Ms. Henderson to come up with real solutions to improve the performance
    of our children or hit the road. After all how many teachers can you fire
    before people start demanding real solutions. My vote is for Mr. Catania
    we can’t afford someone that’s going to go easy on the person that we have
    entrusted the education of our children to.

  • Sabastian Cochran

    Exactly what "results" has Cantania produced? All that I can recall are his screaming tirades in the City Council chambers. Its too bad, because he showed so much promise when he sat in that DC General waiting room. Unfortunately, the result is Speciality Hospital in Southeast.

  • AGant

    Seb, not sure what you mean with the Specialty Hospital bit, however, I'm here to show you results, and thank you for asking:

    At Hardy Middle School budget was going to be cut $500K, he was the ONLY councilman to listen and finagle the budget to keep this funding alive for the school.

    The Focused Student Achievement Amendment Act of 2013 that he authored has ended social promotion, so that students get the curriculum they need, and not just pushed through the system.

    Last year, DCPS announced that it would restrict summer school to serve only about 2,700 (down from 10,000 of the prior years!). David identified an additional $4 million to support expanded summer school and summer bridge programs.

    All this and more are readily available at: http://www.davidcatania.com/record

    And his record is amazing among accounts of ANY DC government official, let alone when comparing him to just his opponents.

  • seDCdude

    WOW...you can't be serious...HARDY??!!! Hell, their parental base can open and fund their very OWN school on their own dime!! Hardy NEVER needed Catania for Jack! Another DC transplant with regurgitated talking points! He is and was in bed with MC Dean, that in of itself needs NO record laying, I'll just leave it at that....for now!

  • seDCdude

    He ONLY "visited" schools as a political ploy...child pleez! Saw right through that one! Dog and Pony show during election year and will do absolutely NOTHING for DCPS! Bowser is garbage, and Catania no better, just a lil brighter but still under 100 watts!

  • seDCdude

    Here you go Sabastion......straight with no chaser; The Fight Back notes Catania earned more than $100,000 from outside contractors, for years, during his Council service, while simultaneously arranging for lucrative city contracts to go to the companies that were paying him.

  • AGant

    Hi seDC, I do welcome the questions, so thank you! Hardy is a very diverse school, serving kids who feed in from over 45 school districts.

    Additionally, legislation that David Catania authored has the district spending an additional $2250 (or so) per at-risk student this year.

    And we don't need to let MC Dean lay; if there were any dirt on that lead, it would have been dug up by now. I'll leave it at that.

  • 4th Generation DC

    We soon forget that we have elected Mayors in the past who have shared their personnel aspirations. Do we remember Ramsey, Janey and Rhee? It was all there for those to hear "as soon as I get elected, that [person] is history." Again we elect and our Mayors select; it is not the other way around. This hogwash about Hardy being "diverse" has such a coded under current. It just makes me want to puke.

  • AGant

    4th Generation, you shouldn't want to puke. Hardy is a great school. If you want another word besides diverse to describe the students who attend Hardy, these children who happen to have attended over 45 different elementary schools from throughout the District, then choose your word. I am not sure what undertones you think are implied, but I can promise you the school is a positive place, and I am proud to have family members attending there.

  • Typical DC BS

    LOL. Love the light bulb comparison.

  • justsayin

    I can't disagree on that point about both, but Bowser could've spared us such obvious patronization and spend some time crafting substantive talking points about whatever it is she stands for, because in every interview she sounds vague and non-commital.

    Lmao@ the bulb comparison.

  • seDCdude

    If I were DC, I'd advise you NOT to tell anybody that EVER again!!


    How long has Catania been involved in DC politricks again?? How long has he been double dipping with his more then conflicted interest MC Dean??

    Better yet, how about you on his??

  • NofictionDC

    Before anybody takes Don Graham's word at face value let's have a discussion about how much of his personal fortune is wrapped up in Pearson.

  • NandoGroup

    OK, stop the fighting. I'll move back to DC and I'll run for DC Mayor. But first I have to move from San Diego, CA. Wait. did I say leave San Diego, CA. Nah. not going to happen. Good luck folks, you're on your own. I LOVE DC, but I will never move back. I have my business there, but San Diego is so pretty and it's 75 on xmas morning. Who need snow... BTW, Don Graham is a cool dude, but I wouldn't take voting advise from him.

  • D_Rez

    I'm not able to get past Catania raising over $50,000 to help elect George W Bush, the worst president in modern history.
    While I appreciate Catania's role as a contrarian and watchdog, I don't want someone like that to lead my city.