The District’s most hyperlocal political arena—Advisory Neighborhood Commissions—saw at least half a dozen longtime incumbents voted out on Tuesday, in some cases signaling shifts in neighborhood views on development, transit, zoning, and other issues.
ANCs don’t have much power—all of their opinions are advisory. But their members are some of the most clued-in District residents, and they take official positions on matters that directly affect neighborhoods, topics like development projects and bicycle lanes. Their opinions go on to District agencies, which have to give ANCs “great weight.” We’ve culled some noteworthy results below.
In Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B, a contentious battle saw the ousting of Nick DelleDonne, who is best known for leading the charge opposing a liquor license for a neighborhood Safeway. (“Food not booze” was his slogan.)
In the short time since his victory in a March 2017 special election, DelleDonne’s tactics won him the loyal support of some historic preservationists, but his rhetoric also earned him a censure vote from his colleagues. In the run-up to election day, a fellow commissioner admonished him on a listserv posting. Aaron Landry trounced DelleDonne, winning with 64 percent.
Ward 8 Turnover
Longtime Ward 8 figures Mary Cuthbert and Anthony Muhammad lost their reelection bids. Combined, both have served for decades on ANCs, and their loses surprised Ward 8 watchers.
In a three-way race, Muhammad lost to Cheryl Moore in ANC 8E, while Salim Adofo beat Cuthbert in the ANC 8C race.
Former Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate Greta Fuller trailed challenger Tyon Jones by five votes in an ANC 8A race. Absentee and special ballot votes are yet to be reported.
First Transgender Elected Official
In a 2017 special election where only 26 people voted, Monika Nemeth lost to Bill Siting by just six votes. On Tuesday, she beat Siting in the ANC 3F race with 56 percent of the vote, becoming the first transgender person to win public office in the District, according to the Washington Blade.
Family Dynasty Undone
Phil Hammond and Robin Hammond Marlin—father and daughter, respectively—lost to their challengers in ANC 7B. Nicole Smith-McDermott takes over papa Phil’s position, while Villareal “VJ” Johnson narrowly beat Robin. Also in ANC 7B, homeless advocate Jewel Stroman, the subject of a recent City Paper cover story, lost her challenge to longtime incumbent D.L. Humphrey.
As City Paper reported, four candidates supported by the local Democratic Socialists of America chapter won their ANC races, in Wards 1, 2, 3, and 5. Beau Finley won unopposed in ANC 3C, while in the same ANC fellow DSA-endorsee John Grill came 17 percentage points short of longtime incumbent Lee Brian Reba.
Kishan Putta was a Dupont Circle commissioner from 2013 to 2015 before recently moving to Burleith. Now he has ousted ANC 2E veteran Ed Solomon. Putta, a former registered Republican and 2014 independent at-large hopeful, benefited from The Georgetowner’s endorsement.
Outside the Shepherd Park polling station in Ward 4 on Tuesday morning, Councilmember Brandon Todd was campaigning for challenger Iris Parks and incumbent Phyllis Green in their campaigns for ANC 4A. Todd went 1 for 2.
Green defended her seat from former Ward 4 ANC member Douglass Sloan. But Todd’s help couldn’t put Parks over the finish line, with Stacey Lincoln keeping his seat.
Life Gives You Lemons
A write-in challenge looks to have prevailed in Ward 4 against ANC 4C incumbent Timothy Jones, in a quirky race that featured a debate over lemonade stands. Write-ins led with just over 51 percent of the vote, and that likely means the position goes to Leah Anderson, whose write-in campaign included posters saying “Ask Tim Jones why he hates lemonade stands.”
Jones possessed a picayune interest in the distinctions between block party and special event permits, according to Anderson. This year, he made a phone call to revoke the permit of the neighborhood’s Blocktoberfest, saying it needed a special event permit due to the service of alcohol, Petworth Newsreported.
At last year’s fest, Jones complained about lemonade stands fundraising for breast cancer awareness, the blog wrote, because the sale of goods at the event would require a “special event” permit, not just a “block party” permit. He is right, according to the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. But in politics, optics is everything.
Other Notable Races
Historic preservation advocate Alma Gates did not seek reelection in ANC 3D, which includes Spring Valley and Palisades. Bowser administration staffer Alan Karnofsky takes her seat. That ANC, which made a 2015 City Paper story after some commissioners pushed to preserve a parking lot, has seen younger members win in recent cycles, leading some to believe the ANC will be more supportive of development in the area.
Two incumbents lost in ANC 6D, and two new commissioners won open seats, Twitter users point out. ANC 5D continues to see changes, with Kathy Henderson and James Butler not seeking reelection this cycle after both unsuccessfully ran for higher office. ANC 5D member Peta-Gay Lewis also lost her seat.
William Kennedy Smith—yes, of that Kennedy family—won his reelection bid in Foggy Bottom’s ANC 2A. He has a checkered past: In 1990 he was acquitted in a Palm Beach, Florida rape trial, the Post noted in a 2014 profile. Patrick Kennedy (no relation), chair of ANC 2A, won reelection, and Tweeted about the citywide turnover in ANC races:
ANC veteran Dorothy Douglas won another term in Deanwood’s ANC 7D. The race featured Peter Espenschied, a former Ward 3 ANC commissioner who Douglas said recently moved to Deanwood. Espenschied was involved in a 1993 court case that removed him from ANC 3C, after the D.C. Court of Appeals judged that the city improperly awarded second place finisher Espenschied the position after the top vote-getter couldn’t be sworn in. On Tuesday, he only got 6 percent of the vote in the three-way race to challenge Douglas.
This post has been updated to reflect the Phyllis Green was the incumbent in her race, and that Douglass Sloan was not the incumbent, but rather a former ANC member in Ward 4.