Well, that’s one way to deal with a split vote. In a statement, Ward 1 candidate Bryan Weaver announced this afternoon that he’s dropping out of the Democratic primary for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat, leaving challenger Brianne Nadeau to face off against incumbent Jim Graham alone on April 1. Instead, Weaver says he’ll run as an independent in the Ward 1 general election in November.

Weaver attributes his decision to ditch the Democrats to the limitations of a primary that essentially serves as the ward’s general election. “It cuts our neighbors and friends who may be of different political persuasions out of the picture and it benefits entrenched incumbents even as they face serious ethical issues,” Weaver writes.

Of course, the realities of a prospective split vote against Graham played into Weaver’s decision, too. In his statement, Weaver says multiple challengers in primaries ensure the re-election of “ethically challenged leaders.”

Weaver is the second candidate, after Beverley Wheeler, to drop out of the Ward 1 primary this month.

Update, 5:55 p.m.: Nadeau has come out with a statement inviting Weaver backers to join her.

“I want to thank Bryan Weaver for all the work he has done to strengthen our ward, and also want to invite his supporters to join our movement to strengthen neighborhood schools, maintain affordability in our communities and support our small businesses,” Nadeau writes.

Statement by Progressive Candidate for Ward One DC Council Bryan Weaver

 Washington DC – Washington DC has become a one-party town with an increasingly disinterested electorate.  Currently, no more than 38 percent of all registered voters have bothered to turnout for city primary elections — even as our population numbers have boomed.   The Democratic primary — closed to all except registered Democrats — serves as the de facto general election.

This partisan primary system limits political discussion and feeds voter apathy. It cuts our neighbors and friends who may be of different political persuasions out of the picture and it benefits entrenched incumbents even as they face serious ethical issues.

That is why I am announcing today that I am un-affiliating with the local Democratic Party and will not seek its nomination for Ward One Councilmember.  I will instead run as a progressive Independent in the November general election and give the voters of Ward One a real choice.

When I decided to run for office in Ward One, it wasn’t to pad my resume or my retirement account, but to continue to work day-in and day-out to bring a better government to the residents of Ward One and all of D.C.  As a progressive Independent, my commitment and focus on the progressive issues I have worked on for more than two decades will not change.

From better opportunities for all our kids through better schools and more options for good paying summer jobs, to job-training, to affordable housing to small business growth, to safer streets, to green neighborhoods and energy efficient transportation, to equality for all, I have worked tirelessly for most of my career to make Ward One and this city a better place to live, learn, grow, work, play and thrive for all our families.  But while there has been tremendous economic growth in our nation’s capital, not everyone is sharing in that prosperity equally.

There is more work to be done and much more that I can offer the residents of Ward One and the District.

Unfortunately however, under the District’s current primary system, multiple candidates challenge incumbents and end up splitting the anti-incumbent vote and residents are left with ethically challenged leaders.

To quote my mentor the late Sen. Paul Wellstone: “I don’t think politics has anything to do with left, right, or center. It has to do with trying to do right by people.”

And that’s what I hope to do by running in the November election, do right by the people of Ward One and all of D.C. and give them a real choice when it comes to their elected leaders.

This post has been updated. Photo by Darrow Montgomery