Ward 1 candidate Brianne Nadeau
Ward 1 candidate Brianne Nadeau

Bryan Weaver dropped out of the Ward 1 Democratic primary on Wednesday, but he made a surprise visit at Thursday night’s Kalorama Citizens Association’s debate anyway. While everyone waited for incumbent Jim Graham to arrive, Weaver, who will run in the general election instead of the primary, took the time to offer some strong words to describe D.C.’s political status quo.*

“We have a warlord problem,” said Weaver. “I know what you’re thinking. ‘Warlord.’ You’re thinking Joseph Kony, you’re thinking the Taliban, you’re thinking right-wing death squads. But there are three elements to any warlord: being close-minded, a hoarder of power, and change-averse.”

Graham declined to respond to Weaver’s remarks on the grounds that he’s not a candidate in the primary.

Unlike Weaver, challenger Brianne Nadeau was actually a participant in the debate, but her criticisms were nowhere near as aggressive.

Soon after he arrived, Graham emphasized that despite his past troubles with the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability and his own Council colleagues, he had never committed a crime. (He’s never been charged with any, either.)

“It’s never a good thing when we’re saying, ‘I was never found guilty of anything,’ when that’s our standard,” Nadeau responded. “I think that I and many of the voters I’ve talked to would like to hold our government to a higher ethical standard.”

Graham moved past the ethics discussion and instead continued talking about his decades-long experience in Adams Morgan, as well as his personal contributions to the “eccentricity” of the area. Meanwhile, Nadeau repeatedly described herself as the new energy the Council needs to move forward.

Both Graham and Nadeau expressed concern about a proposed plan to swap 14th Street’s Reeves Center for land to build a new D.C. United stadium.

“The notion of giving [the Reeves Center] uncompetitively to a single developer in exchange from some scrappy little parcel at Buzzard Point just doesn’t ring true for me,” said Graham.

Another point of contention: the constituent service fund. Nadeau said she would get rid of what she called a slush fund. Graham accused Nadeau of not understanding the money’s benefits for constituents in need and said that he was proud of the way he spends the fund.

* Correction: Due to an editing error, this post and its headline originally stated Weaver had called Graham a warlord. In fact, Weaver said the District, not Ward 1 specifically, had a warlord problem.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery