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Presumptive Ward 1 councilmember Brianne Nadeau just got a little less presumptive. While ostensible general election rival Bryan Weaver won’t even tell LL whether he’s actually running against Nadeau, real estate broker and former mayoral candidate Ernest Johnson says he’ll enter the race as an independent.
Johnson, 65, says he’s been gathering supporters in coffee shops around the ward and plans to file papers with the Office of Campaign Finance next month.
Johnson brings an idiosyncratic platform to the Ward 1 race, including opposition to ever having an elected attorney general, renovating RFK Stadium for soccer team D.C. United, and creating a $40,000 school voucher for each D.C. Public Schools student assigned to failing schools. His campaign apparatus includes “senior advisor” Lenwood Johnson, an ex-Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner who memorably called adult chat lines on a government-issued phone and accused a constituent of “bitchassness.”
Johnson, who grew up in the District, says he’ll bring more experience to the Council seat than Nadeau, who moved to D.C. in 2002.
“Brianne I think has only been in town for about ten years,” says Johnson. In a statement to LL, Nadeau says she’ll continue reaching out to voters for the general election.
The Ward 1 race won’t be Johnson’s first time on the ballot. In 2010, he ran a longshot campaign for mayor against Vince Gray and Adrian Fenty. Johnson received a meager 317 votes—-0.24 percent of the ballots cast—-and raised just a little more than $6,000.
Despite his poor performance in 2010, Johnson predicts big things for his run against Nadeau, regardless of her success over incumbent Councilmember Jim Graham in last month’s Democratic primary.
“I think that election was more about who wasn’t Jim Graham,” Johnson says.
Photo courtesy Ernest Johnson