D.C. Council ballots will be packed come April

D.C. Council ballots will be packed come April

By Mike DeBonis, Washington Post, February 10 at 10:48 AM

When voters in Wards 4 and 8 head to the polls to choose their next D.C. Council member on April 28, they will not lack for choices.

The deadline for challenging ballot petitions came and went Monday with only two challenges filed, according to the D.C. Board of Elections, meaning that there will be at least a dozen candidates in each of the special election races.

In Ward 4, the candidates are Acqunetta Anderson, Leon T. Andrews Jr., Ron Austin, Renée L. Bowser, Gwenellen Corley-Bowman, Judi Jones, Bruce Morrison, Edwin W. Powell, Pedro Rubio Jr., Glova Scott, Douglass Sloan, Bobvala Tengen, Brandon Todd and Dwayne M. Toliver.

Only Todd — who holds a huge lead in fundraising and a crucial endorsement of Muriel E. Bowser, who left the seat to become mayor — had his petitions challenged, by resident Alonzo Edmonson. Everett Hamilton, a spokesman for Todd’s campaign, said it had not been informed of the challenge by elections officials but said the 1,000 signatures submitted were internally vetted beforehand. “We have every bit of confidence in our signatures,” he said.

In Ward 8, the candidates are Jauhar Abraham, Stuart Anderson, Karlene Armstead, Marion C. Barry, Nate Bennett Fleming, Sheila Bunn, Greta Fuller, Eugene D. Kinlow, LaRuby May, Anthony Muhammad, Genora Akosua Reed, “S.S.” Sandra Seegars, Keita Vanterpool (independent), Leonard Watson Sr., Trayon “WardEight” White and Natalie Williams.

Williams had her signatures challenged by Watson, and Williams’s campaign is similarly unconcerned: “We have checked our signatures very thoroughly,” said spokeswoman Khendall Beale.

All candidates in both races are Democrats with the exception of Vanterpool, an independent, and Scott, a member of the Socialist Workers Party. So how to sort through them all?

In Ward 4, a helpful, unaffiliated Web site has popped up with basic information on most of the candidates. In Ward 8, interested voters may have their best chance to learn more by attending one of several candidates forums expected to take place before Election Day — the first of which took place Monday at the St. Paul Senior Living community in Washington Highlands.

There, eight of the most prominent candidates — Barry, Bunn, Kinlow, May, Seegars, Vanterpool, White and Williams — were invited to address a packed room of senior residents and campaign supporters and lay out their general views on jobs, housing, transportation and other issues. It also illustrated the unwieldy nature of the large field when Anderson, who had been standing in the crowd, took the mic and demanded equal time for an opening statement.

“A chair was not provided for me,” Anderson announced. “But I’m going to have my five minutes, if it’s appropriate.”

After a moment of hesitation, it was deemed appropriate, and a ninth chair was located.

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