Driving Home His Candidacy

By Nikita Stewart and Yolanda Woodlee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's "Pimp My Ride" -- D.C. Council campaign style.

Let us explain that we're taking the title of the popular MTV show in which people get their dilapidated cars rehabilitated in a, um, flashy, eye-catching manner.

In this case, it's Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) who has a new look for his ride -- a 2003 GMC Savannah van decorated for his reelection bid. We're talking bright blue, with his name and logo in big, bold lettering.

Candidates in this year's Democratic primary do not have to file petitions to qualify until June 2. So far, campaign finance records do not show anyone mounting a challenge to Brown, and newcomer Adam Clampitt says he will run at-large as an independent.

But Brown is taking no chances in trying to spread the word about his bid. He was spotted in the "Kwamemobile" (our term) at the Eastern Market Metro last week when Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) were glad-handing, and outside Sharpe Health School later, when the mayor showed up to vote.

"Man, that thing is slick," marveled council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D).

Brown said he knows it's a bit flashy, but he also said it's not unusual for him. In 2004, during his first campaign, Brown had a U.S. postal truck plastered with his campaign signs. "This time I decided I would do something different," he said. "The mail truck couldn't hold all my supplies. I have ladders, poles, signs. It kind of makes things easier."

The van used to be the family vehicle for the married father of two. The "wraparound" advertising can be removed after the election.

Brown calls it "the people's mobile."

Send us your ideas for a name. Write to stewartn@washpost.com, and we will post the best monikers in the Notebook.

Remember, this is a family newspaper.

Another Round for Brown?

Lobbyist Michael A. Brown, who dropped out of the mayor's race in 2006 and waged a losing campaign for the Ward 4 council seat last year, said that he is "taking a close look" this month at the council's at-large races against Kwame Brown and Carol Schwartz (R).

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