Loose Lips

Morning Links

Post ed board backs Courtney Snowden and Robert White in the at-large race. [Post]

Candidates stump as Election Day nears. [Post]

Muriel Bowser tops the Mayoral Power Rankings. [LL]

David Catania gets some positive ink from Colby King, who really doesn't like Carol Schwartz's anti-inequality office. [Post]

Fringe candidate Nestor Djonkam drops out, endorses Bowser. [LL]

Mayor's race gets personal for families. [Post]

Post ed board still likes Karl Racine. [Post]

Read more Morning Links

Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 7

591 likely voters have had their say, and the result is: Mayoral Power Rankings are back. 

1. Muriel Bowser

What: Polls! Bowser swept the board this week, coming out either 12 or 17 percent ahead of Catania.

Why: Bowser's comfy lead means one thing: time to party! Every elected official who's ever said something nice about Bowser will turn out in Ward 7 tomorrow afternoon for the awkwardly syntaxed "#wedovote" rally. Handling the tonal shifts between Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and the "Housewives of Benning Road" will be host Antonio "The Cuban Cigar Smoker."

Power Rankings Momentum: Tenuous.

Read more Mayoral Power Rankings, General Election: Week 7

Muriel Bowser Lands the Nestor Djonkam (?) Endorsement

Right when the mayoral race is heating upNestor Djonkam is calling it quits. The little-known candidate announced last night that he's dropping out of the race and endorsing Muriel Bowser's bid.

"At the end, it will be only one winner," a cryptic Djonkam writes to LL in an email.

Djonkam ran a low-profile campaign, avoiding public appearances and confounding debate organizers. By his Oct. 10 campaign finance report, he had raised less than $4,000 in the entire election cycle. Despite "dropping out" of the race, he'll still appear on the ballot.

Djonkam's endorsement doesn't exactly doom David Catania's electoral hopes. In the Washington City Paper/WAMU poll, Djonkam received only five votes—one less than both Libertarian candidate Bruce Majors and trumpet-toting Statehood Green nominee Faith.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Morning Links

New WCP/Kojo Show poll: Muriel Bowser leads mayor's race by 17 points. [LL]

Poll: Karl Racine leads the attorney general race. [LL]

Attorney general candidate donnybrook at the Wilson Building! [LLPost]

Vince Gray shrinks the streetcar after D.C. Council budget cuts. [Housing Complex, WAMU,

Ron Moten demands satisfaction from David Catania. [LL]

Elections board: sorry for screwing up the voter's guide, then making up an excuse. [City DeskPost]

Mayoral hopefuls face off in education debate. [Post]

The Post at-large series covers Kishan PuttaElissa Silverman, and Robert White. [PostPostPost]

Read more Morning Links

Poll: Bowser Leads Catania By 17 Percent in Mayor’s Race

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Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser enjoys a comfortable double-digit lead less than two weeks before Election Day, according to a new poll of likely D.C. voters commissioned by Washington City Paper and WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Bowser received 44 percent in the poll, putting her 17 points ahead of independent rival David Catania, who had 27 percent. Carol Schwartz received 10 percent in the poll, while 16 percent of voters in the race are undecided.

The results could represent a blow to Catania's already dwindling hopes. Other recent polls have shown Catania between eight and 12 points behind Bowser.

Rather than being down, though, Catania campaign manager disputes the poll's methodology. Young points out that a City Paper/Kojo Show poll taken just under three weeks before April's Democratic primary showed Vince Gray and Bowser tied. Bowser went on to beat Gray by nearly 11 points.

"The polls are all over the place," says Young, who claims the race can't be accurately polled.

Also not convinced: Schwartz, who says the poll doesn't reflect the support she finds when she's campaigning. Schwartz claims that her real support would be double what she received in the poll, landing instead at 20 percent.

 "I still think that I'm going to fare better than that at the polls on Election Day," Schwartz says. "Fare far better."

Bowser's campaign didn't have an immediate reaction to the poll's findings.

The poll by Public Policy Polling was conducted Oct. 20-22 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. 80 percent of respondents were landline telephone users, while 20 percent were cellphone users surveyed over the Internet.

Read more Poll: Bowser Leads Catania By 17 Percent in Mayor’s Race

Poll: Karl Racine Leads Attorney General Race by 10 Points, Still Trails “Undecided” by 16

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Here's one potential reason that Karl Racine has become the most tempting target in the attorney general race: he's winning. The top-flight defense attorney has a nine-point advantage over his nearest rival, according to a new poll commissioned by Washington City Paper and WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Racine, a partner at white-shoe law firm Venable, received 22 percent in the poll by Public Policy Polling. Meanwhile, three of Racine's rivals are jockeying with one another for second place. Edward "Smitty" Smith scored 13 percent in the poll, while Lorie Masters received 12 percent. Paul Zukerberg, who lead the field in a September Post poll, earned 11 percent.

Lateefah Williams, whose campaign lags far behind the others in fundraising, received 4 percent. The poll of 591 likely voters has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points. It was conducted Oct. 20-22, and 80 percent of respondents were landline telephone users, while 20 percent were cellphone-only users surveyed over the Internet.

Racine campaign consultant Sean Rankin writes in an email that the poll results show a "clear trajectory for a Racine victory."

Voters seem to be paying a little bit more attention to the race than they were in September, when the Post poll found 57 percent undecided. The new poll finds that "only" 38 percent—still more than a third—haven't decided who to cast their ballots for.

Read more Poll: Karl Racine Leads Attorney General Race by 10 Points, Still Trails “Undecided” by 16

Ron Moten Wants David Catania to Apologize

Prominent activist and Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten is demanding that At-Large Councilmember David Catania retract statements that implicate Moten in an alleged illegal campaign spending effort on behalf of Councilmember Muriel Bowser, the Ward 4 Democrat who polls indicate leads Catania in the mayoral race.

The demand, sent Tuesday by Moten's attorney Johnny Barnes in a letter to the Catania campaign, insists that Catania "publish a 'retraction,' 'correction' and an 'apology'" to Moten for "for the untruths you published in an electronic communication this instant date."

Those "untruths" refer to statements in an email sent to thousands of voters by Catania campaign manager Ben Young that appear to identify Moten as a person "associated with the illegal spending."

The allegations and retraction demand stem from a controversy last week over mysterious red-white-and-blue campaign signs that recently appeared in wards 7 and 8, accusing Catania of waging a "war against the poor." The signs were attributed to a group identifying itself as "DC Citizens Against Catania," which as reported by the Washington Post did not provide any indication of who paid for the signs, as city election laws require. The Post identified three advocates for ex-offenders' rights, Yango Sawyer, Debra Rowe, and Eddie Moton, as key figures at the gathering, though only Moton was reported to be brandishing any materials. (He reportedly was wearing a T-shirt.)

Sawyer has since acknowledged that he's responsible for the signs, placards, and T-shirts, and is the subject of a complaint to the Office of Campaign Finance accusing him and his colleagues of making unreported "in-kind contributions" to Bowser's campaign. A hearing on the OCF complaint, filed by Ward 1 activist Marie Drissel, is scheduled for Monday. Sawyer and Rowe declined to comment. Moton couldn't be reached. The Bowser campaign has denied any involvement with "DC Citizens Against Catania." She didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

But the Post article also included an interview with Moten, co-founder of Peaceoholics, a nonprofit group that advocates non-violence on behalf of at-risk youth. He was at the rally and was quoted voicing support for Bowser from the community of advocates for ex-offenders, known as "returning citizens."

Moten is not related to Eddie Moton, whose name is misspelled in the OCF complaint, perhaps confusing an already murky matter. Read more Ron Moten Wants David Catania to Apologize

Attorney General Candidate Masters Holds Press Conference to Slam Rivals Zukerberg, Racine

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Some candidates leave their oppo research dumps to campaign surrogates and media leaks. But not Lorie Masters! The attorney general hopeful took to the steps of the Wilson Building this morning to personally bash two of her opponents as unqualified for the District government's top law job.

"Unfortunately, some of my fellow candidates simply don't fit the bill when it comes to the experience and background our city needs," Masters said.

First up on Masters' chopping block: Paul Zukerberg. Masters gave Zukerberg credit for filing the lawsuit that kept the attorney general election in 2014, an issue she's scrapped with him over before. But she said Zukerberg's background as a sole practitioner, a "lone wolf" in Masters' words, made him a weak candidate for the job.

"Do we really want someone who's never even managed another lawyer, let alone a law firm office or law firm committee, to run one of the biggest law firms in the District of Columbia?" Masters said.

Read more Attorney General Candidate Masters Holds Press Conference to Slam Rivals Zukerberg, Racine

Morning Links

Mayoral candidates favor meet-and-greets over public appearances. [Post]

Attorney general hopeful Karl Racine's law firm overbilled the District while he was managing partner. [LL]

Jet-setting former mayor Adrian Fenty returns to the District to do his civic duty. [Post]

Muriel Bowser says David Catania's "Scandal" mailer is a sign of desperation. [LL]

Attorney general candidate Lorie Masters promises to drop new info on her rivals this morning. [Twitter]

Ward 5's tiny house community—neighbors with Ward 5 councilmember Kenyan McDuffie—call it quits. [City Desk]

Racine wins the Current endorsement, Bowser wins a go-go singer's. [LL]

Read more Morning Links

Karl’s In Charge: Audits Question Bills from Attorney General Candidate’s Law Firm


Anyone worried that the District’s newest elected office wouldn’t adapt quickly to the realities of District politics can set their minds at ease. Several nights a week, all five would-be attorneys general put Wilson Building regulars to shame with their sharp elbows at candidate forums. OG AG candidate Paul Zukerberg slams his opponents as mere “aspirational” to his “perspirational” campaign, while Edward “Smitty” Smith never fails to bring up his hardscrabble Anacostia upbringing. Hopeful Lorie Masters even has a TV ad.

But maybe no one is better positioned to enjoy the new office than Karl Racine, who’s taken a leave of absence from white-shoe law firm Venable to run for the job. With a gushing endorsement from the Washington Post editorial board and an election board’s lottery victory that gave him the first spot on the ballot, Racine is well-positioned in the little-watched race. They’re both killer advantages that Racine makes sure to note on his street signs.

Racine isn’t betting everything on Post diehards and chance, though. He’s also loaned or given his campaign $450,000 since the race began, giving him a $40,000 cash advantage over his nearest rival as of Oct. 10.

Racine, 51, has another asset: six years as the managing partner at Venable. While Masters and Zukerberg rival him in years of experience, Racine has the best claim to replicating his abilities overseeing hundreds of lawyers in the Office of the Attorney General.

“I have the right experience for the job,” Racine said at a forum Monday. “And don’t be fooled, it’s a big job.”

Racine’s legal prominence isn’t without its downsides. He defended disgraced ex-Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. after Thomas stole grant money meant for kids, a fact that inspired a parody Twitter account to dub him “Korrupt Karl.” Venable’s work on behalf of District contractor Whiting-Turner Contracting looks to be the main target of an “ethics pledge” from Smitty’s campaign that Racine refused to sign. (Then again, neither did the other three candidates.)

None of that has managed to diminish Racine’s other advantages. But federal and District reports on Venable’s billing suggest that Racine’s management of the firm may not be the asset that he claims it is. While Racine ran the firm, according to the audits, Venable overbilled its clients—including the District—by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Read more Karl’s In Charge: Audits Question Bills from Attorney General Candidate’s Law Firm

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