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Last night, the D.C. Democratic State Committee held its holiday party and presidential straw poll at the 18th Amendment bar on Capitol Hill.
The big winner: New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won a narrow victory—-55 votes to 49—-over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. John Edwards, Sens. Joe Biden and Christopher Dodd, and Bill Richardson captured another 18 votes between them.
The other big winner: The District Dems themselves, who seem to have righted the ship after nearly depleting their bank account earlier this year (Loose Lips, “Democrats’ Checkbook Dwindles,” 4/27). According to committee chair Anita Bonds, the committee has money in the bank (she declines to say how much, citing still-pending bills), thanks largely to the group’s Kennedys-King dinner last month—-the first such dinner in three years. “We’re in much better financial shape, and we’re grateful for that,” she says.
Event organizer Phil Pannell says the party helped line the coffers, raising about $2,000 in $10-a-head door fees. It’s almost enough to comfort Pannell, an Obama supporter: “To be honest about it, I was really surprised he lost,” Pannell says. He says 34 ballots that went unreturned might have made a difference. “Maybe people just got caught up in the party,” he says.
If so, he’s got no one to blame but himself. The night’s entertainment was karaoke, and the room didn’t show much interest in taking the mike before Pannell kicked things off with a snappy “Mack the Knife.”
From there, it was showtime for the east-of-the-river council delegation, past and present: Former Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen did Etta James‘ “At Last,” and Ward 7’s Yvette Alexander indulged in a solid rendition of Bobby Caldwell‘s 1978 classic “What You Won’t Do for Love.” After LL left, Alexander reports, she switched to more contemporary repertoire and gave an encore rendition of Jill Scott‘s “My Love.”
But Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry stole the show with a ferocious take on T-Bone Walker‘s classic “Call It Stormy Monday.” Barry later sang back up for a rendition of the Temptations’ “My Girl.”
His performance may have been enough to capture some hearts and minds: There was one write-in vote—-for Barry.
NB: LL has a dark, fuzzy photo of Barry at the mike, but he’s having trouble getting it off his phone.