Yes, you read that correctly.
D.C. Councilmember Michael A. Brown (I-at Large) is considering running for D.C. Council in the upcoming special election to fill Kwame Brown’s soon-to-be-vacant at-large seat. Brown, who was elected to the Council as an independent in 2008 has been itching to switch his party affiliation back to the Democratic party. Everyone in the world knows that Brown is actually a Democrat, and his father, the late Ron Brown worked for the Clinton Administration and served as chair of the DNC. Brown shed the (D) from his name two years ago to run for one of the two seats reserved for minority parties.
So what does this mean for the special election? If Michael A. Brown entered the race, he’d have a pretty strong advantage out of the gate. He’s got pretty strong name recognition across the city and has the advantage of incumbency. However, that ignores the fact that this entire maneuver is completely ridiculous, self-serving and most of all, absurd. If Brown were to win and “switch” seats, that would result in yet another special election, this time reserved for minority parties. That would also cost the city at least another $500,000. Money the city does not have.
This does call into question the whole idea of seats being set aside for minority parties, and the process of switching party affiliation. Everyone in the world knows that Brown is a Democrat and for him to hold one of the reserved non-Democratic seats is also absurd. This maneuvering is likely to help pave the way for an eventual mayoral bid for Brown, possibly as soon as 2014. Sources close to Brown told me back in November he had decided against pursuing the vacant seat, because a loss could result in him losing his current seat. It appears at present no one is sure if that is the case or not. How no one is sure, I don’t know, but yet another reason why we need to reform how D.C. Council elections work.
If Brown wants to switch parties, he should resign his current at-large seat and run for the open seat. This could allow both special elections to occur on the same ballot, and show that Brown is willing to take some sort of political risk to rejoin the Democratic Party. If Brown runs for the seat while staying on the Council, it will be a campaign that will be very hard to take seriously. Remember, at least Michael D. Brown ran as a Democrat, his true party affiliation.