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Thanks to the District’s overwhelmingly Democratic voter base, the 2014 mayor’s race will probably be decided in the April 1 Democratic primary. That’s not good enough for some independent and Republican supporters of mayoral hopeful Tommy Wells, who have started urging their fellow non-Democratic District residents to join the majority party in time to vote for him.
The group, calling themselves Politics Aside, has been explaining the process in a letter they’ve been handing out to potential party switchers.
“If you share our belief that corporate money should not be what drives government decisions, we ask you to join us in changing your party affiliation—-for at least 30 days—-so that you can vote for Tommy in the Democratic primary on April 1,” the letter reads.
Politics Aside approached Wells’ campaign a few days ago, according to the candidate. Using the magic of politics, Wells transformed LL’s question about whether the pitch isn’t at least a little bit shady into a chance to promote his stance against corporate contributions. “I’m not surprised that people would be coming forward saying, ‘Damn, we’ve got to do something about this and it seems like the only election we can vote in,'” Wells says.
Switching back and forth between parties couldn’t be easier, according to Politics Aside member and frequent party hopper Richard Lukas. Lukas, a Capitol Hill resident, is an independent for most of the year. When an election rolls around, though, he becomes a Democrat long enough to vote in the primary.
Lukas compares his registration maneuvering to non-observant people going to church for holidays.
“People can certainly attend church during an important holy day and not really call themselves a practicing Catholic or a Jew,” Lukas says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery