Leon T. Andrews Jr., wants to unseat Ward 4 council member Brandon Todd. (AFRO File Photo)
On March 16, candidates for the D.C. delegate and Wards 2, 4, 7, 8 and the at-large race for the D.C. Council submitted their petitions to the District’s Board of Elections to get on the June 14 ballot for the Democratic, Republican, and Statehood Green parties. The spokeswoman for the board of elections told the AFRO that the petitions may be challenged by other candidates or residents until March 28.
While almost all the candidates who picked up petitions to run in the June primary turned in their signatures, one Ward 7 hopeful, Ed Potillo, didn’t and that surprised many observers. “I dropped out of the race for health reasons,”Potillo told the AFRO in a brief interview.
The Ward 7 Democratic Party nomination race promises to be one of the city’s hottest races with former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray seeking re-election to the seat he held from 2005-2007 and with D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander fighting to hold on to it. Other candidates who may appear on the ballot for the Ward 7 Democratic nomination are Delmar Chesley and Grant Thompson. There are no candidates for the Ward 7 Republican and Statehood Green nominations.
In Ward 8, D.C. Council member LaRubyMay will face a stiff nomination challenge from former D.C. State Board of Education member Trayon White. May barely held off White in the April 28, 2015 special election to replace the late D.C. Council member Marion S. Barry and both of them are looking to square off again.
However, Ward 8 political newcomer Aaron Holmes wants to give his residents a fresh face.
“There are 70,000 Ward 8 residents and it is time to change the narrative,” Holmes told the AFRO. “We must come together around the ideas that move our ward, and this great city, forward and exercise our democratic right against those who hold us back.”
Holmes said that “Ward 8 needs someone on the city council that will fight for us.” He said his opponents articulate the problems of the ward “very well” but don’t implement programs to solve those problems.
Lesser known candidates who may appear on the ballot include Maurice T. Dickens, Bonita Goode, and Christopher Hawthorne. Just as in the Ward 7 race, there are no Republican and Statehood Green party candidates for the primary.
It appeared that D.C. Council member Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4) would have no opponents in his bid for re-election. However, Leon T. Andrews Jr., who ran against Todd in the April 28 special election to take D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) council seat, is challenging the freshman council member. “I am running to be the next representative for Ward 4 on the council because we need someone who knows how to legislate and practice oversight,” Andrews, who has worked with the National League of Cities and is a former staffer with U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), said. “The ward also needs an independent representative that is not beholden to the mayor or to big contributors.” Ron Austin and Calvin Gurley are seeking the Ward 4 Democratic nomination, also.
Ward 4 resident Robert White who ran for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council as an independent in 2014 is challenging D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large). Orange served on the D.C. Council from 1999-2007 as a Ward 5 representative and was elected in an April 2011 special election as an at-large member.
Despite Orange’s years of experience, White said his campaign to unseat the incumbent is “going well.”
“We are getting support from a lot of people throughout the city,” he said. “While it is always difficult to take on an incumbent, it helps when the incumbent is unpopular. We are running a strong campaign with a good message of good government and inclusion.”
Other candidates for the At-Large position include, David Garber for the Democratic nomination and Republican Carolina Celnik, and two Statehood Green candidates, G. Lee Aiken and Asha Carter.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) face no opposition in the primary. However, perennial candidate for delegate, Natale Stracuzzi of the Statehood Green Party, faces no opposition in his primary and there is no GOP candidate for the position.