D Block, Alcatraz
courtesy of itjournalist
We only gave Harry Thomas Jr the #3 slot in 2011’s Worst of Scandals list, but it appears he will be the number one figure in DC politics for the next few weeks. WUSA9’s Bruce Johnson is reporting that Councilmember Thomas will resign as part of a plea deal that will send Thomas to prison for 2-3 years. In addition, according to comments obtained by the Washington Post, Thomas failed to make his second scheduled $50,000 payment this week.
Thomas’ resignation would leave Ward 5 without a seat on the council (excepting At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, who also lives in Ward 5) until a special election could be called. The District, according to law, must hold the election on the Tuesday after 114 days from the certified vacancy. Should Thomas’ vacancy be certified by Friday of this week, that election would take place on April 30th, but a May election date is more likely. Thomas faced three challengers in the 2010 primary, with none gathering more than 19%. No word yet on if any of his 2010 challengers would make a run for his seat.
Should Thomas resign, it would be nice to see the Council take efforts to, give the financial situation, amend the charter to add more flexibility to the special election options, including alignment to nearby primary and special elections, as well as provisions to allow for the Board of Elections to avoid days that could limit voters for religious reasons.