Ward 4 frontrunner Brandon Todd

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Last night’s Washington City Paper Ward 4 debate started with five candidates, but that didn’t last long. In his opening remarks, candidate Doug Sloan announced that he’s dropping out of the race.

But Sloan didn’t quit because he’s sick of his rivals (although maybe that, too). Instead, Sloan wants the fractured candidate field to unite behind one opponent to Muriel Bowser favorite (and likely winner) Brandon Todd. Saying it was unfair for Bowser to pick her successor, Sloan announced that he was dropping out, then walked out of the debate.

Sloan’s exit in Ward 4 mirrors the Ward 8 race, where two candidates dropped out in a bid to combine opposition to Bowser pick LaRuby May. But while the former Ward 8 candidates united behind hopeful Trayon White, Sloan wouldn’t say who, if anyone, he’ll endorse.

After the debate, candidate Dwayne Toliver confirmed that a Ward 8-style effort to convince more candidates to drop out exists. Toliver didn’t know who Sloan will be backing, although he hopes it’s him.  

Doug Sloan’s statement on dropping out of the race:

Running for office should not be about the candidates, but about the voters. Often these campaigns are portrayed as who has the most money, endorsements and yard signs, but with little media attention paid to this special election, the ideas of the candidates have been lost. The important questions of what ward 4 residents want and need from a councilmember are not the dominant theme in this campaign because there are too many candidates in this race and none of us have a chance except for the Mayor’s chosen candidate.

The mayor’s blessing comes with a lot of money, resources and political weight and it has contributed to a level of voter apathy unseen in previous elections. This is NOT what is best for ward 4. I don’t think the mayor should pick her successor; it compromises the integrity of our democratic process. I think the voters of ward four should choose our councilmember free of interference. Ward four needs an independent voice, but we won’t get that voice if so many people are putting their own ambitions ahead of what’s in the best interest of ward four residents. We have so many candidates who feel like they should be council member but so few with a realistic chance to win. I think we candidates should put the best interest of ward 4 ahead our political ambitions. We need one voice to emerge from the crowd. I would like to be that voice, I want to serve and stand up for the city that I love so much, but staying in this race will not allow me to do that.

If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. So I am doing what I think is the mature thing to do and withdraw my candidacy from this race. This was not an easy decision for me to make and I am eternally grateful to my supporters who have been an inspiration to me in this campaign. But I don’t see any one voice breaking through the noise of 11 other voices in this race. It is for these reasons that I have chosen to remove myself from consideration. Thank you.

Photo by Will Sommer