The deadline for challenging primary ballot petitions came and went Tuesday, and there were a few scattered challenges filed.
Most notably, Ward 7 resident Dawn Matthews challenged petitions submitted by incumbent D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), alleging that the two men who collected most of Alexander’s signatures did not in fact do so.
Matthews, in her challenge, cites “pattern of evidence” indicating that the men, George Browne and Derek Ford, signed as circulators after other campaign workers collected the actual signatures. Ford, she said, collected 300 signatures on a single day — “Teams, not individual circulators, generate such large numbers of signatures.” She goes on to describe a report of Ford “pulling up in a van and letting out of the van several young people who proceeded to solicit petition signatures.”
Matthews is asking the Board of Elections and Ethics to subpoena Browne and Ford to explain how they collected their signatures and how they spent large payments made to them by the Alexander campaign.
J.R. Meyers, Alexander’s chief of staff, rejected Matthews’s claims. “All of that’s not true,” he said, adding, “We have over 1,400 [signatures]. I don’t have any doubt we’ll make it.”
Matthews’s motivation for submitting the challenge is unclear. There is a Facebook page for a Dawn Matthews in D.C. that includes associations with Tom Brown, a challenger to Alexander, and Kemry Hughes, Brown’s campaign manager. That person has not yet responded to a message seeking comment; Hughes said yesterday he would try to contact Matthews and disclaimed any involvement in the challenge.
Also of note: The outcome of one April 3 race appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Nate Bennett-Fleming will be the sole candidate on the Democratic ballot for the shadow U.S. representative seat. He said Thursday he’s “declaring victory” in the citywide primary race. The unpaid statehood advocacy position is being vacated by Mike Panetta (D).
”I’m not ready to be called shadow representative-elect,” he said, “but I do presume we will win the general election.”
Bennett-Fleming, 27, said he will be “forming some form of a transition committee which we will be announcing in the coming weeks.” His campaign operation, he said, is closed down.
”The whole idea is to build a coalition of support behind a plan of action so we can have some consensus on what we do do once I’m elected,” he said.