What if former Councilmember Michael Brown, who abruptly quit the at-large D.C. Council race earlier this month, were to still win the most votes in the April 23 special election? Would Brown be declared the victor, or would the second-highest vote getter win the seat?
Turns out, the Board of Elections doesn’t actually know and its general counsel is at the moment “carefully reviewing” the city’s laws and regulations now “to determine the outcome should [Brown] receive more votes than any other candidate” in the special election, says BOE spokeswoman Agnes Moss.
The chances of Brown winning the most votes are slimmer than slim, though not impossible. He’s dropped out and sent a letter to the BOE “irrevocably” withdrawing his candidacy on Monday, but his name will still be on the ballot. Remember that the 2010 election showed that the name “Michael Brown” does well with D.C. voters even when the Michael A. Brown isn’t running.
Debbie Smith-Steiner, a former campaign aide for Brown, says there’s still plenty of Brown supporters who might still vote for their guy anyway. She says she recently asked Brown whether he’d serve if he won and didn’t get a direct answer. But Brown did say that the ill-defined personal and family matters that led him to resign are “still unresolved,” according to Smith-Steiner.
“I did ask him straight up, and he said he is always willing to serve,” Smith-Steiner says. “You know how these politicians are, they are never going to be direct.”
Brown didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery