In an Examiner column this week, Jonetta Rose Barras renewed questions about the Board of Elections and Ethics — specifically, the fact that one of the board’s three seats, reserved for a non-Democrat, remains unfilled. It’s been a long-standing issue, and D.C. Republicans and other influential parties have been agitating for the slot to be filled for some time.
Barras called on Mayor Vincent C. Gray to do so and floated a few names: “Ward 7 attorney Bob Richards’ name has been tossed around, as has that of Stephen Danzansky, a Ward 3 resident with impressive credentials,” she writes.
It seems the issue has been on Gray’s plate for some time. The cache of e-mails sent to and from Gray confidante Lorraine A. Green includes a Feb. 24 e-mail to Gray from his boards and commissions director, Ronald Collins, discussing various potential appointees.
Three appointees to the non-Democratic seat are discussed: Lenora Cole Alexander, a Republican former academic and federal official; Jeffrey A. Taylor, the former U.S. attorney for the District, also a Republican; and Danzansky, a native Washingtonian and well-regarded lawyer.
Alexander told me rather brusquely this week she had “no comment whatsoever” about her name being mentioned. Taylor has left the city; last fall, he was named general counsel for Raytheon Co., whose headquarters are in Massachusetts.
Danzansky, though, seems to be high in the running. He said Thursday that he had been approached about seeking the job by the local Republican party and has consulted with former board members about the demands of the job.
“I said, ‘Listen, I’m not running for this office, but if the mayor would like some candidates and would consider me, that’s fine,’ ” Danzansky said. He added that he put together an application that was recently sent to the mayor’s office, but he’s heard nothing back yet.
Paul Craney, executive director of the D.C. GOP, said today that Danzansky is the party’s preferred pick. “If the mayor wanted some good press, he’d go with Danzansky,” he said.
Gray, of course, is not obligated to pick a Republican, just a non-Democrat, but Craney warned against it. “That would mean he’s not really serious about this appointment,” he said. “He has to appoint a Republican if he wants to have any type of credibility for this position.”