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Good morning, sweet readers! Sigh, another Miss Universe Pageant, another loss for a non-earthling. When LL was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guinea, the story went that the late president Lansana Conte took the reigning Miss Guinea as his second wife, and then, to allow his new bride to keep her crown in perpetuity, ordered the annual contest to end. Now that’s how you rule a country! News time:
Who Drank All the Juice?: D.C. Council Chairman candidate and former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange eked out a must win at yesterday’s Ward 5 straw poll, edging out Kwame Brown by a few dozen votes out of roughly a thousand cast, reports Mike DeBonis at the Post. “Orange—trailing in fundraising, key endorsements and polls to at-large council member Kwame Brown—needed a solid win among the voters of the ward he represented for six years. ‘It’s Orangetown, and we still got the juice,’ Orange said Monday as votes were counted. He managed to squeeze out a slim victory, 471 votes to Brown’s 433, with Ward 7 education board member Dorothy Douglas earning 24. That’s 50.7 percent for Orange, well short of the 60 percent he needed for an endorsement. (Sixty-eight provisional ballots had yet to be counted early Tuesday.)” Not a solid win, but not a drubbing by Kwame either. Verdict: Orange still hanging around.
AFTER THE JUMP: More from Ward 5; Jaffe tells you how to vote; Shadow Rep race coverage …
In other Ward 5 straw poll news, mayoral candidate and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray trounced incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty by an 8-to-1 margin at last night’s poll. Team Fenty didn’t bother to show up, saying they weren’t invited to participate. LL has a long history of not being invited to events, so he can relate. But something tells LL that Hizzoner wouldn’t have been denied a jump or two on the moonbounce if he’d crashed the party. TBD‘s Sarah Larimer and Kevin Robillard have more on Fenty’s no-show: “Fenty’s absence confused the mayor’s main challenger in the upcoming primary, Vince Gray, who spoke with reporters outside the church. ‘What do you mean he wasn’t invited?’ Gray said. ‘You don’t need to be invited, you just show up.’ Ward 5 Democrats Chairperson Angel Alston said it was ‘not true’ the Fenty campaign wasn’t invited. She showed a reporter a text message sent earlier in the day to a Fenty campaign staffer, and also promised to forward an e-mailed invitation that was sent to all the Democratic mayoral candidates.”
More from DeBonis: “In the shocker of the night, Shadow Sen. Michael D. Brown beat incumbent Phil Mendelson in the at-large council race, 370 to 250—again raising the potential that name confusion with council member Michael A. Brown will have a serious impact on the at-large balloting. Clark Ray, who has campaigned hard for the seat for more than a year, won 159 votes. On Saturday, Mendelson came to a Ward 8 straw poll equipped with flyers photo-illustrating the difference between Michael D. Brown, who is white, and Michael A. Brown, who is black. Mendelson had no such fliers Monday.” Speaking of Michael Brown, TBD shows why they’re at the forefront of journalism with this list of semi-famous people named Michael Brown.
You Might Even Get Used to the Smell: Harry Jaffe writes the most straightforward endorsement of the season so far, arguing that “Michelle Rhee needs four more years, at least, and if that means holding your nose and voting for Fenty, do it.” Jaffe’s rational: “The Fenty vs. Gray mayoral election IS about Michelle Rhee—and school builder Allen Lew. It’s about the schools, stupid. It’s not about crime. The nation’s capital is a safer place than it was two years ago, a decade ago, certainly better than back in 1990, when D.C. was Marion Barry‘s Murder Capital. It’s not about economic development, either. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his economic development team have done as well as possible in a time of tight credit and general recession. I didn’t see Vince Gray use his council chair to employ more folks in his home territory of Ward 7. So call it a draw. Both candidates promise better health care, better housing, better care for the homeless. Both carry cronies in their baggage. So it does come down to the schools and Michelle Rhee. She stays with Fenty; she goes with Gray. Period.”
Fenty and Gray Want To Get It On With You: The Post‘s Petula Dvorak compares the campaign season tactics to the horny antics of 16-year-old boys. “They are party hopping, changing their looks, cracking jokes, making promises, apologizing, dissing each other, strutting, dancing, cajoling, begging. And it’s not so much that they really want to know how you’re feeling, what your thoughts and dreams, hopes and fears are. They simply want you to give it up for them. Now.
‘So, can I count on your support?’ Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) asks folks as he knocks on doors at dinnertime, in between his events and on weekends. Folks tell me they feel cornered by his visits, that the ding-dong drop-ins are yes or no questions, not chats. ‘Where’s the conversation? The discourse? The debate?’ they wonder. The big man on campus just wants to know if you’re in or out. He doesn’t have time for romance.
And then there’s the old-school gentleman, who is trying hard to woo you but is struggling to do it BlackBerry time. ‘It’s dead over here,’ a campaign staffer for D.C. Chairman Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7) decided one weekend afternoon, while hopscotching from one event to another, texting on which party is hot, which isn’t. All the while, trying hard to keep Gray moving on, moving along. It isn’t easy for them to run him at triathlete speed. Quick hit is not his style. ‘He wants to talk to all of them. Every. Single. Person,’ a Gray volunteer complained to me.”
No Party No Vote?: The D.C. elections board will have a special meeting Wednesday at the Green Team’s request to determine whether to allow unaffiliated voters to vote in the Sept. 14 primaries. That’s according to an e-mail LL got from the board last night after the Post‘s Nikita Stewart broke the news that Fenty was trying to get the board to reverse an earlier decision that would effectively ban “no party” voters from the primaries. “According to an Aug. 20 letter to the board from Marc Elias, an attorney for the campaign, the Fenty camp met in July with the board’s general counsel, Kenneth McGhie, who gave the nod to allow such voters to participate in the Sept. 14 primary. The decision was crucial to the Fenty campaign, which is hoping to expand the electorate in the Democratic primary against main opponent Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. But the board adopted emergency rules Aug. 12 that prohibit unaffiliated voters from participating in the primary.Elias wrote in the letter that the emergency rules are not consistent with past elections and that voters who may have wanted to become Democrats to participate were disenfranchised. New election laws, which include same-day voter registration and early voting, require voters to pick a party within 30 days of an election. That means voters had until Aug. 16 to affiliate with a party to vote.” The Gray team views this as the summit of Mt. Hypocrisy, noting that Fenty vetoed a vote-buying bill because he said it was poor form for councilmembers to enact legislation that would affect their own personal races.
People Addicted to Investigations: Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander wants some answers about how Peaceoholics spends its money and she wants those answers now! Alexander is asking auditor Deborah Nichols to audit the non-profit group, which was co-founded by outspoken Fenty supporter Ron Moten. “In a letter to Nichols, Alexander asked the auditor to investigate not only Peaceoholics’ use of the more than $10 million it has received in city money, but also the role it has played in the mayoral election. Alexander has requested that the preliminary findings of the audit be submitted to her office by Sept. 3, just 11 days before the Democratic primary,” reports the Examiner‘s Freeman Klopott. Not hard to slap the “politically motivated” label on that one, but hey, if a tight election is what it takes for councilmembers to pay closer attention to where the city’s money is spent, is that so bad?
About that Shadow Race: The AP’s Jessica Gresko finally, finally, gives some love to the shadow rep race, the unpaid red-headed stepchild of D.C. elected office. First up, let’s look at the incumbent, Mike Panetta: “So far, his success has been with humor. In 2005, before his election as shadow, he created a campaign to rename RFK stadium “Taxation Without Representation Field” to draw attention to the city’s lack of a vote in Congress. In 2006, he formed a D.C. Olympic curling team. The team only went curling maybe three times, but they got quite a bit of press.” Now, let’s look at his eager competitor, 25-year-old Nate Bennett-Fleming: “He wants to organize a ‘Freedom Summer’ in 2011 where residents would lobby for statehood, and he would also organize on college campuses. Bennett-Fleming, who just meets the age requirement to run, says the job is for a young person. ‘I was put on this planet to win statehood for the citizens of D.C., and if I don’t do it it won’t be done,’ he said during the candidate forum.”
Pols turn out for Fox 5 wedding [Examiner]
A Softer Peter Nickles, No Thanks [Post]
8 p.m. Mayoral Forum hosted by Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Sixth & I Synagogue. 600 I St. NW