Leon T Andrews

Leon T. Andrews is a Ward 4 candidate for the D.C. Council. (AFRO File Photo)

D.C. Council member Brandon Todd, an ally of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, is fighting a tougher than expected battle to keep his Ward 4 seat from a former opponent.

The Democratic Party primary is June 14. Leon T. Andrews Jr., who competed in the April 23, 2015 special election to fill the seat vacated when Muriel Bowser was elected mayor, has emerged as Todd’s biggest threat.

“There are huge contrasts between myself and the current council member,” Andrews said to a group of D.C. residents June 2. “The council representative isn’t representing the ward and doesn’t understand what the residents want or need. I want to implement policies in city hall that will impact the lives of our children.”

Andrews said Ward 4 residents need “effective, competent leadership on the council, again.”

Todd won the special election with 43 percent of the vote in a field that had 13 candidates. His closest competitor was labor activist Renee Bowser (no relation to Muriel Bowser) and Andrews came in third with 15 percent.

Andrews is being supported by Renee Bowser and six of his former opponents: Douglass Sloan, Gwenellen Corley, Edwin W. Powell, Bobvala Tengen, Dwayne Toliver, and Acquentta Anderson. Sloan,the advisory neighborhood commissioner for district 4B09 in Ward 4, said Andrews will be a good council member for the ward. “Leon is committed to uniting Ward 4 and I hope to help him do so with my endorsement of his campaign,” he said. “I am confident that Ward 4 will have a strong, independent candidate that we will be proud of and Leon will fight tirelessly to ensure that Ward 4 remains the special place we call home.”

Andrews has gained the support of TENAC, a citywide tenant’s association, Jews United for Justice, the D.C. Latino Caucus, D.C. for Democracy and the D.C. Nurses Association.

Ronald Austin and Calvin Gurley Jr., are also in the Ward 4 race and ran in 2015. Austin told the AFRO that he has been involved in Ward 4 affairs for years and would be a better council member than either Todd or Andrews. “I have served on the neighborhood planning council, been the president of two civic associations, and served as a commissioner for 4B for six years,” Austin said. “Brandon Todd talks about constituent services but I was the constituent service director for Fenty when he was on the council and that is how he got elected mayor. Leon Andrews isn’t active in the community until election time, Brandon is a nice guy but he is over his head and Gurley runs for everything.”

Todd tunes out his opponents and boasts of his endorsements from labor unions such as SEIU and AFSCME as well as business groups such as the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.

“We are working hard for the people of Ward 4,” Todd said. “We have funded an elder law clinic at the David Clarke School of Law, we have increased funding for the creation of a new clean team that will clean up upper Georgia Avenue and we were able to secure $1 million in planning funds for Shepherd Elementary School. We are working hard to make sure that Ward 4 is the best that it can be.”