There are 54 days until election day in the At-Large special election to fill Kwame Brown’s empty At-Large seat, but that’s not the only deadline left. This past week, the public had the opportunity to inspect the signatures gathered by each candidate and decide if they were valid, or if they deserved a challenge. The deadline for challenges was Monday at the close of business, and several petitions were challenged.
Lawrence Guyot, nominally of the Lopez campaign, challenged signatures gathered by the Mara campaign. Bandele McQueen, nominally of the Biddle campaign, challenged signatures gathered by the Mara, Weaver and Patterson campaigns. The moves are high risk (could alienate voters), but also high reward (could disqualify strong competition), and won’t be ruled upon until the 15th. It’s been revealed in the last day or so that some of the signatures that have come under scrutiny are themselves interesting. DCist has a fairly fun list which includes Bryan Weaver’s own wife, ANC Commissioner Bob Summersgill, Mayors Fenty and Williams. In total, 6,516 signatures have been challenged.
Of course, getting thrown off the ballot is hardly the end of things. One need only look at the 2002 mayoral campaign of Anthony Williams, where his signatures were challenged successfully and his name didn’t appear in the primary voting. He won that primary, and then the general election. It’s more difficult, surely, but it’s not impossible, given the large number of candidates still in the game at this point.
Now, on to the actions of candidates. The SEIU has endorsed Sekou Biddle, which isn’t all that surprising, given their love of the incumbent in the last few election cycles, but it’s still a sizable endorsement in an election cycle where as few as 100 votes could make the final decision. Of course, that’ll all depend on talking about the issues at some point. There are five candidate forums on the books, and I suspect that there will be plenty of canvassers working your neighborhood over the next few weeks.
There’s also the matter of staffing the election and paying for it. DCBOEE announced via Twitter that seven precincts may be moved for the special, due to construction, renovation, and completion of renovations on an old precinct site. Public comment will start this week for the move of precincts 5, 18, 44, 63, 69, 89, and 99. There’s concern from DCBOEE that a federal shutdown could affect the election date, which makes the coming two weeks in Congress all the more interesting as the two sides try to hammer out a compromise that will keep the government open.