Councilman Sekou Biddle (D-At Large) has succeeded in the first part of his challenge to at least one of his challengers’ ballot petitions, and has preliminarily knocked Jacque Patterson off the ballot for the upcoming April election. Today’s preconference hearings were an “opportunity for the candidate and the challenger to review the staff findings on each challenge and decide whether they want to proceed with a formal request for a public hearing,” according to DCBOEE’s Alysoun McLaughlin.
Preliminary results from DCBOEE showed today that Mara submitted 3,182 valid signatures, Weaver submitted 2,948 and Patterson submitted 2,217. Each campaign was also furnished with a list of signatures that could be found to be valid, provided DCBOEE receives a change of address form within 10 days of today. Mara submitted 992 of those, Weaver 261 and Patterson 565. Mara needs none of those potentially valid signatures to qualify, while Weaver would need 52, and Patterson would need a miracle.
Next up would be public hearings, provided that Mara, Weaver or Patterson don’t withdraw their candidacy (unlikely), or their challengers withdraw their challenges (also unlikely). These public hearings would allow the challenger to present evidence, and the candidate to defend their gathered signatures before the board of elections. DCBOEE has scheduled the public hearings at 2pm on the 9th (Patterson), 10am on the 10th (Mara), and 12pm on the 14th (Weaver) which will determine the final disposition of their candidacies
The high-risk, high-reward maneuver by the Biddle campaign may have been successful, if Patterson and Weaver are knocked off, and proven that the challenges, however haphazard, were necessary with Mara.
Disclaimer: Tom Bridge is a donor to the Weaver campaign, a signer of the Weaver petition (amongst others), and gathered 46 signatures for the Weaver campaign. His name was challenged by Sekou Biddle’s campaign as a petition signatory, but not as a signature gatherer.