Here’s who I’m voting for in the 2018 D.C. Democratic Primary

Plus, the reasons behind my votes.

My completed absentee ballot. Pretty sure taking a photo of my ballot is legal in D.C. — let me know if not :)

I have spent a good amount of time (probably more than advisable) researching and preparing to fill out my ballot for the Tuesday, June 19th D.C Democratic primary elections. As such, I figured I would share the results of my research and some insight into the rationale behind the votes of a Democrat living in the District of Columbia’s Ward 1.

For the high-profile offices, I typically leverage the endorsements provided by Greater Greater Washington and the Washington Post. As an urbanist, I align with GGW’s policy perspectives and, even if I didn’t, appreciate their thorough endorsement process. When the endorsements conflict, or in the absence of an endorsement, I conduct my own research into the individual candidates and/or defer to trusted opinions of friends and family.

A few years back, I signed up with TurboVote, which provides me with notifications about upcoming elections as well as facilitates the provision of an absentee ballot so I don’t have to go to the polls on election day itself (in fact, this year, I’ll be spending election day campaigning on behalf of Ward 1’s Councilmember Brianne Nadeau.) My only gripe with the absentee ballot process is that I have to pay for postage to return the ballot. A minor inconvenience for the flexibility to vote when I want.

Federal Offices

  • Delegate to the House of Representatives: Eleanor Holmes Norton

I gave some consideration to the challenger Kim Ford, but deferred to the Post’s endorsement here, who characterized Ford as a “promising political newcomer” but ultimately not the right challenger to Holmes Norton, who the Post described as “indefatigable in her efforts” and “effective in standing up for the city’s interests.” Additionally, the consideration that the Dems may win back Congress (or at least parts of it) in November makes me want to keep someone in office who has the relationships to potentially make statehood happen, however unlikely.

District Offices

  • Mayor: Muriel Bowser
  • D.C. Council Chairman: Phil Mendelson
  • At-Large D.C. Councilmember: Marcus Goodwin
  • Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember: Brianne K Nadeau
  • D.C. Attorney General: Karl A. Racine (unopposed)
  • United States (Shadow) Senator: Andria Thomas
  • United States (Shadow) Representative: Franklin Garcia (unopposed)

I did not vote for Mayor Muriel Bowser in the 2014 mayoral election (I voted for independent David Catania), but by and large I’ve been satisfied with her administration. I honestly haven’t paid too close attention, but the only noticeable blip on my radar seems to be the controversy over her Schools Chancellor violating his own policies to place his daughter in a sought-after school. Otherwise, I defer to the Post’s take:

“That no credible challenger has so far emerged is, in some measure, testament to Ms. Bowser’s adroit leadership of the city. She deserves to be reelected.”

For D.C. Council Chairman, I also deferred to the Post’s endorsement of incumbent Phil Mendelson, although I found the detailed discussion by Greater Greater Washington — and the ultimate decision to not endorse either candidate — very interesting. I held off on my own decision until seeing GGW’s lack of endorsement.

The Post endorsed Marcus Goodwin, one of the only conflicting endorsements with GGW, who endorsed Jeremiah Lowery. I support Goodwin based primarily on a personal recommendation from a friend I trust.

My wife is the volunteer coordinator on Brianne Nadeau’s Ward 1 campaign, putting hours of effort into drumming up support, knocking on doors, and generally supporting the campaign. I could go at lengths to describe the work she’s done on affordable housing, property issues, family leave, neighborhood cleanliness, and the list of smart and reasonable legislation that she has introduced, but I’ll leave it to the words of the Post and GGW, respectively:

“In Ward 1, incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau is the best choice, having proved to be a quick study as chair of the council’s Human Services Committee in driving legislation on such issues as homelessness.”

“In her one term thus far as Ward 1 councilmember, Nadeau has shown clear support for urbanist issues and policies, and her questionnaire answers reflected this…We also appreciated her support for finding ways to try these innovations more quickly…Nadeau has been consistently strong on the DC Comprehensive Plan, calling for amendments to support more housing, more affordable housing, and protections against displacement. Her three challengers, by contrast, have stated their opposition to proposals to change the Comp Plan, a stance which would not only hinder new housing but also leave DC without a clear path forward for affordability and stopping displacement… Nadeau clearly won our endorsement.”

Karl Racine is running unopposed in the primary, though even if he had a challenger, he would likely have my vote. I have heard and read great things about his true desire and ability to get things done, and have been impressed to see campaign signs on lampposts to earn the votes of District residents even in an unopposed primary.

I am voting for Andria Thomas for shadow Senator over incumbent Michael D. Brown on advice of a trusted friend familiar with D.C. politics. Shadow Representative Franklin Garcia is running unopposed.

District Ballot Initiatives

  • Initiative Measure №77: NO, to reject

I defer to the judgment here by the Washington Post, but also find it noteworthy that nearly the entire grassroots effort I’ve seen to engage D.C. residents has been by the “No” crowd. “Vote No” signs are in seemingly every restaurant and I have strong opinions by trusted friends in favor of voting “No” on this initiative. This vote is contrary to the opinion voiced by Jon Lovett on a recent episode of Pod Save America. I’ve found he is quite more progressive than my tastes typically allow for, so it stands to reason that I should vote no.

District Party Offices

  • National Committeewoman: Silvia Martinez (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist)
  • National Committeeman: Jack Evans (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist)
  • At-Large Committeewoman (up to 7): MaryEva Candon (DEMS win 2020), Alexa Wertman Brown (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Patricia “Pat” Elwood (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Reta Jo Lewis (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Latifa Lyles (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Monica Roaché (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Christine Warnke (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist)
  • At-Large Committeeman (up to 7): Walter J. Springman Jr. (DEMS win 2020), James S. Bubar (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Mario Cristaldo (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Dave Donaldson (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), Charles Giather (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), John Green (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist), James J. Zogby (Democrats Moving Forward #Resist)
  • Ward 1 Committeewoman (up to 2): Lynn C French (Ward One Democrats), Angelica Castañon (DumpTrump — Dems4Action)
  • Ward 1 Committeeman (up to 2): Stanley J. Mayes (Ward One Democrats), Tony Donaldson, Jr. (DumpTrump — Dems4Action)

There is little guidance anywhere about the differences between the two major coalitions vying for D.C. Democratic Party office, “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” and “DumpTrump — Dems4Action”. Your vote here probably matters very little in the grand scheme of things, but I felt it important to sort out the mess nonetheless.

The first directional guidance I found was in this article on Afro.com. As shown below, it paints the “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” coalition as the establishment party types and the “DumpTrump — Dems4Action” coalition as the progressive grassroots types. I’ll refrain from diving much deeper into a Hillary vs. Bernie comparison…

“Philosophically, there is little difference in the slates as far as opposing the Trump agenda and wanting statehood for the District. The difference appears to be style, with the Democrats Moving Forward being the more established organization, while Dump Trump is the more grassroots and outspoken group.”

I’m currently a bit more of a party Democrat that anti-establishment progressive, so I went ahead and voted the slate for the “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” coalition.

For National Committeewoman, there was one candidate unaffiliated with any coalition, Marie C. Johns, so I looked into her. She seems qualified and a suitable alternative to the “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” coalition Silvia Martinez, should you care to be bold here.

A third coalition that appeared in a few races, the “DEMS win 2020” coalition. Both “DEMS win 2020" nominees for At-Large Committeewoman, MaryEva Candon and Gail Gottlieb, seemed very capable. Given that there were only six “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” candidates in a race that allowed for seven votes, I chose MaryEva as she is the incumbent National Committeewoman. I will note that I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by the resumés of all six “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” candidates (I’ve linked to each of their LinkedIn profiles above), and if they had not been so strong, I would have voted for Gail Gottlieb. Also, Gail seems to be a somewhat newcomer to the District, having moved here from Florida three to five years ago, so I hope to see her continue pursuit of involvement in the D.C. local political scene.

There were no Ward 1 Committeewoman nominees in the “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” coalition, so I chose Lynn C French of the “Ward One Democrats” coalition on a trusted recommendation and Angelica Castañon of the “DumpTrump — Dems4Action” coalition based on her resumé and similarity to my own interests, although Bonnie Cain seems like a reasonable choice as well.

There were also no Ward 1 Committeeman nominees in the “Democrats Moving Forward #Resist” coalition, so I chose Stanley J. Mayes of the “Ward One Democrats” coalition due to his support of Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and Tony Donaldson, Jr. of the “DumpTrump — Dems4Action” coalition due to the fact he writes on Medium too, at Tony E. Donaldson Jr.

Questions? Comments? Drop a comment below. Happy voting! Find your polling place for election day on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 or vote early.

District of Columbia fanboy living in CDMX with @egbarnett. Product Manager at @TheoremCo.

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