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Posted at 01:54 PM ET, 01/31/2012

Yvette Alexander fights to stay on primary ballot


Alexander remains in peril of losing her ballot access. (Yvette M. Alexander)
D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander remains in peril of being kicked off the April 3 primary ballot as she seeks a second full term representing Ward 7.

A Board of Elections and Ethics hearing on challenges to her ballot petitions has been recessed until Thursday morning, when a lawyer for Alexander (D) is expected to rebut the challenger of her petitions, Dawn Matthews. The board heard preliminary testimony on the challenge Tuesday morning but recessed the hearing after it became clear the proceedings would take longer than planned, said board spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin.

According to McLaughlin, Matthews appeared Tuesday with adviser Kemry Hughes, who is managing the campaign of Alexander opponent Tom Brown. Alexander did not attend but was represented by lawyer David W. Wilmot.

Wilmot is also a prominent city hall lobbyist who previously represented Alexander in an Office of Campaign Finance investigation last year. She was largely cleared of wrongdoing in that probe.

The board’s registrar last week presented an initial ruling that Matthews is challenging only 455 specific signatures out of the 1,384 submitted by Alexander — that’s not enough to put her under the 250 signature requirement for ballot access. But Matthews is also alleging that Alexander’s petition circulators did not personally witness a great many of the signatures they attested to collecting; if the board accepts those claims, that could be enough to bounce Alexander from the ballot.

The parties will debate the issue Thursday; the board has until Monday to make a ruling.

The board Tuesday also considered a preliminary ruling that Jauhar Abraham did not qualify for the Democratic ballot for Ward 8 Council member.

Abraham, co-founder of Peaceoholics, had his petitions challenged by fellow Marion Barry challenger Sandra “S.S.” Seegars. The board registrar sustained most of her challenges, leaving Abraham almost 90 signatures short of the 250 required.

Another Ward 8 candidate, Gary Feenster, has withdrawn from the race, McLaughlin said, after being faced with Seegars’s challenges.

Abraham did not appear Tuesday to rebut Seegars’s claims, and he said he would proceed with his campaign as a write-in. “I’ve got a lot of support,” he said. “I still think I can get it done.”

He said he is not daunted by the revelations Monday that Peaceoholics was involved in a housing deal that might have squandered millions of taxpayer dollars. “It’s a smokescreen based on all the other things going on in the Wilson Building,” Abraham said, insinuating his political enemies concocted the allegations. “What better way to divert the attention?”

By  |  01:54 PM ET, 01/31/2012

 
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