On Monday night’s Ward 5 Straw Poll, the white Michael Brown beat out incumbent Phil Mendelson in the At-Large race 370 to 350. This week, Mendelson’s campaign expressed a little worry over this issue. This seems to be Mendo’s biggest challenge: How do you tell voters that, um, they’re too stupid to understand that there are two Michael Browns? And the one they’re voting for isn’t Councilmember Michael Brown? Mendo’s campaign is going to start putting out the flyer you see above.
Washington City Paper talked to Mendelson last night outside a candidate forum: “I don’t think I lose, but there’s significant voter confusion, and no candidate wants that. It’s clear that at least in some places that he’s getting a significant amount of the vote. So in Ward 5, he comes out first. These are presumably the most active voters. You would think that they would know the best.”
Mendelson went on to say: “So I’m concerned. I think that with getting the message out that they’re two Michael Browns—and Michael Brown is not Michael Brown—that we’ll see the results change by election day. But I’m very concerned about it.”
After the jump, the other side of the flyer!
Mendelson thinks Brown is taking advantage of the confusion. “Clearly, he’s not sitting on a lot of campaign money, because nobody has reported that he’s got any campaign money,” Mendelson says. “I have yet to see any literature from him. I’ve see two [yard signs] in his front yard. We know he has at least two yard signs in his campaign. I think that works to his advantage, because then everybody thinks that he’s the other Michael Brown.”
Mendelson says it would be different if Brown ran a normal campaign: “If he was running a real campaign then there would be issues and we could agree or disagree. With no campaign, there’s no issues and therefore voters are left to think he’s the other Michael Brown. I believe he’s taking advantage of that.”
But Michael Brown insists he is running a real campaign. He tells City Paper: “This is something that [Mendelson] fabricated. What can I tell you that I’m giving you proof that I’m running a campaign? I’m out there working hard. I’ve been to every forum to which I’ve been invited.”
But Brown hedges just a bit on whether the name confusion is helping him: “All that I can tell you is that at Ward 5 straw poll, I was there shaking hands with people. There’s no place that I’ve been invited that I haven’t come. I don’t know… Is name recognition important? Yeah, it’s important. Do people know me? People know me. I think they do.”