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In 2010, 90,316 District residents voted to put D.C.’s first elected attorney general on the ballot in 2014. Today, seven members of the D.C. Council voted to postpone that election until 2018. Guess which vote trumps the other?
Today’s vote, the second successful vote on the bill, sends the bill Mayor Vince Gray for his signature. Mayoral hopeful and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, and four other councilmembers voted to amend the bill to remove the election delay but failed.
The seven councilmembers who voted for the postponement presented a list of concerns about the election of the attorney general, from a lack of candidates to fears of an official run amok. “We could have an attorney general that really just turns this place upside down,” said At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange.
At-Large Councilmember and potential mayoral hopeful David Catania, who supported holding the election in 2014, blasted the mayoral aspirants who backed the delay (Ward 2’s Jack Evans and Ward 4’s Muriel Bowser).”They can trust the people to elect them mayor,” Catania said, “but they can’t trust the people to elect an attorney general.”
In related ballot-shuffling news, Mendelson’s attempt to move next year’s primary from April to June failed with only five votes. The two bills drove a frustrated At-Large Councilmember David Grosso to Tumblr, of all places, where he declared today “the most frustrating day” of his term. “Members were caught up in vote trading of the worst kind and self-serving votes that leave the city worse off than it was prior to the votes,” Grosso wrote.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery