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Some Ward 4 voters woke up this special-election morning to find some green-and-white campaign literature that appeared to be pushing candidate Muriel Bowser.
The glossy heavy card stock featured a picture of Bowser and the name “Bowser” next to her head. It even mentioned she was endorsed by the Washington Post. LL obtained a copy from Bowser volunteer Jeff Stoiber at Lafayette Elementary School. He’d collected the cards he found at that poll site.
“They were on the ground and under windshield wipers,” said Stoiber. “This is a fraud.”
A the bottom of the card, there’s a big giveaway that the card probably is not a product of the Muriel Bowser campaign. It reads “#15 on the ballot.” Muriel Bowser is No. 2 No. 6 on the ballot. No. 15 is occupied by Renee Bowser.
Ward 4 resident and political consultant Joe Ruffin said he had a card delivered to his porch along with many of his neighbors. “I walked down the street for three blocks and they were on every porch, except those with a Michael Brown yard sign.” Ruffin, a former consultant for Brown and Muriel Bowser supporter, says judging from the card, “this was not an inexpensive print job. Just a stupid one.”
At the St. John’s College High School polling place, Brown examined the card and then requested a sample ballot to determine who was at #15. “Renee Bowser,” he said, shaking his head. “Obviously, I have nothing to do with this,” he reported. “Voters are too smart to fall for this,” he said.
A Renee Bowser volunteer at the polling place also disavowed the attempted effort to mislead voters.
The flip side of the card offered one last clue that the distributors were not part of some sophisticated dirty-tricks campaign. The official-looking disclaimer at the bottom indicated that a copy of the Bowser finance report “is filed with the Director of Campain [sic] Finance.”