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Can a Twitter hashtag vault a man into office? Local tour guide Tim Krepp aims to find out this November, after deciding to turn a joke write-in bid into an actual general election campaign against Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Political ambitions for Krepp, a 39-year-old Capitol Hill tour guide, author, and occasional Washington City Paper contributor, began years ago, when a friend started voting for him as a write-in against Norton. The joke continued into last April’s Democratic primary, with Krepp write-in voters showing their support with the Twitter hashtag #kreppmentum.
Krepp’s not sure how many write-in votes he received, though it couldn’t have been more than 2,652, the total write-in ballots cast against Norton, who won the nomination with 97 percent of the vote. But the joke campaign inspired him to try and recruit a real challenger for Norton in the general election. He didn’t find any takers.
“No one wanted a bite at the bait there, so why not me?” Krepp says.
Krepp says he’d improve on Norton’s 23 years in office by, among other things, pushing more on District statehood and improving relations with the National Park Service.
“We’re not having the Eleanor of ’93 that was a firebrand,” Krepp says. “We’re just not seeing that.”
Still, Norton probably doesn’t need to start looking for a new job. There’s a reason that, in a town as filled with would-be politicians as the District, she’s managed to run unopposed in the last two Democratic primaries. In 2012, Norton’s nearest general election opponent received just 6 percent of the vote, while she received 89 percent.
Even if—-or maybe LL should say when—-Krepp doesn’t win, he says his run is in part meant to make people think more about whether the District should hand Norton an uncontested seat every election.
“We just hit reset every two years,” Krepp says.
Norton’s campaign declined to comment on Krepp on the grounds that he isn’t an official candidate yet. He says he’ll file his candidate papers soon, but until then, he already has a campaign slogan: “Seriously? Seriously.”
Photo by María Helena Carey