Carol Schwartz has been in the mayoral race for just two weeks, but she says that shadowy forces are already at work against her. In the latest of the former councilmember’s intriguing series of emails to District reporters, Schwartz accuses political action committee D.C. First of funding push polls to promote the idea that she’s a front for rival Muriel Bowser‘s campaign.

“I’m not just going to sit here and take it,” Schwartz tells LL.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E member Jonathan Bender received a call for the poll last night. According to Bender, after a series of other questions about the mayor’s race, the person reading the poll to him launched into what he calls a “lengthy hypothetical” about the possibility that Schwartz’s bid is being propped up by Bowser to take away votes from mayoral hopeful David Catania. At the end of the question, the pollster asked Bender how that would affect his view of Schwartz.

Then, the questioner launched into the preamble again, this time to ask Bender how such a scheme would affect his view of Bowser.

“I wish I had recorded it, because I can’t do justice to this,” Bender says.

A call to D.C. First’s phone number was answered by major District lobbyist David Julyan, who wouldn’t tell LL what his role is in the PAC. The PAC has been conducting a poll, but Julyan said it’d be inaccurate to call it a push poll. Julyan also wouldn’t say whether his PAC represents any particular interest group, but both its treasurer and chairman are executives at parking companies.

Catania campaign manager Ben Young declined to comment on the poll, saying only that the campaign had nothing to do with it. Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In her press release, Schwartz calls on her rivals to denounce “the false rumor” that she’s working on Bowser’s behalf. While LL doubts Bowser would have a problem doing that—-so far, she’s claimed that the idea is so ridiculous she won’t respond to it—-Catania’s camp might prove more difficult to persuade. After all, they’ve been pushing the idea that Schwartz is a stalking horse for Bowser themselves.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery