City Paper is not for tourists
When Arthur Fletcher, former assistant secretary of labor under President Nixon, announced his long-shot presidential bid this month, journalists made a small fuss over the candidacy of a black, pro-affirmative-action Republican. But nobody commented on the blotch on Fletcher’s otherwise stellar résumé. As longtime Washingtonians recall, Fletcher squared off against then-Councilmember Marion Barry in the 1978 D.C. mayoral election. The Republican battled his rival with a strategy that can only be described as bizarre, accusing Barry of being the white man’s candidate. The Washington Post slammed Fletcher’s campaign as “unforgivably shabby,” and voters agreed. Barry walloped Fletcher on election day with 69 percent of the vote, launching the future Mayor-for-Life on a career that shows no sign of abating.