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Running behind in money and tabulated votes, Ward 8 Still Candidate Trayon White called a press conference this morning to take on his foes. But he wasn’t interested in rival LaRuby May, who leads him by 152 votes after last Tuesday’s special election. Instead, White took aim a little higher up, at mayor and May patron Muriel Bowser.
White accused Bowser of all sorts of misdeeds, including sending inexperienced cops to police the ward and skipping out on funerals. At one point, White urged the crowd to chant “We will not be bought,” a reference to the gobs of money Bowser helped raise for her favored replacement for late Councilmember Marion Barry.
The candidate also fretted over supposed election irregularities, including a Malcolm X Elementary School machine that allegedly changed votes before it was replaced. (D.C. Board of Elections spokeswoman Denise Tolliver said there were no issues with the voting machines at that location.) But White seemed most agitated by Bowser’s power struggle with Attorney General Karl Racine, who has backed him in the race.
“We will not sit back and let Mayor Muriel Bowser turn D.C. into a dictatorship,” White said.
Bowser spokesman Michael Czin didn’t think much of White’s claim.
“D.C. does lack a vote in Congress, but no, it’s not a dictatorship,” Czin writes in an email.
At his press conference, White, whose comparatively tiny campaign budget and Barry ties have made him the populist pick in the overtime election, threw in a jab at dog parks, those culture war flashpoints of the Adrian Fenty administration
“Yet we say we care about our children, but we talking about dog parks,” White said. “Dogs have got their own recreation center where they can go swimming. Come on, now.”
LL hasn’t been able to find this dogs-only pool. But White didn’t just call the press conference outside Alabama Avenue SE’s Faith Tabernacle of Prayer for All People church to talk trash.
Instead, with the fate of more than 1,000 provisional ballots in the air and no list of who cast them, his volunteers have to figure out who might have cast a provisional ballot, then take them to DCBOE HQ in Judiciary Square to prove they were eligible to vote. White’s campaign is looking for voters on Facebook, and plans to organize its volunteers tonight for search and transport efforts. So far, White estimates that his campaign has identified roughly 100 of their voters who cast ballots.
A new ballot count could come as soon as tomorrow, with the unofficial final tally expected by Friday. That puts both campaigns in the difficult position of collecting people and taking them to DCBOE in the middle of the workweek. But former candidate Jauhar Abraham, who dropped out to endorse White, isn’t concerned that provisional ballot voters will be hard to find tomorrow.
“Not a lot of our people,” Abraham says. “See, we don’t have jobs.”
Photo by Will Sommer