GOP Committee Hands Schwartz Unanimous Endorsement

By Marcia Davis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 26, 2008

The D.C. Republican Committee has endorsed D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz (At Large) for both the primary and general elections, but Patrick Mara, the candidate challenging Schwartz in the primary, said he's pressing ahead.

So far, the GOP primary is emerging as one of the more interesting races in a city of Democrats.

"Carol's record advocating for DC taxpayers makes our unanimous endorsement an easy decision and the Party will help push her over the victory line in September and November," Robert J. Kabel, chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, said in a statement.

In the release announcing the endorsement, the GOP said of Mara: "Schwartz's primary opponent has accepted sums of money from special interests, with only two donations coming from registered DC Republicans according to his last Financial forms filed with the DC Office of Campaign Finance."

"Carol is one of the District's most beloved incumbents and is the Republican Party's leading figure. She is fighting for DC taxpayers and not the special interests funding her opponent's campaign," Kabel concluded.

Mara, who raised a remarkable $50,000 in two weeks, said he is not being funded by special interests.

Paul Craney, a spokesman for the committee, said it is concerned about the origins of the Mara campaign and its funding sources, which include some Democrats and business owners from Maryland and Virginia.

"Special interest groups are funding his campaign," Craney said. "Who's doing the stationery? Who's setting up his Web site?"

Craney also said the party didn't learn of Mara's campaign until reading about it in the paper.

"If this money were coming from the grass roots of the GOP," that would be one thing, Craney continued. "But to prop up a campaign so quickly without showing a plan to the Republican Committee leaves everyone scratching their heads."

Mara isn't backing away from the electoral fight, however, telling the Notebook that he's got the support of a number of Republicans.

"I think the DCRC is misguided," he said. "I look forward to educating them on my positions. . . . Eventually, I think they'll regret making the decision" to endorse Schwartz.

"I'm the first person who is going to give her a challenge in almost her entire career," Mara said, accusing Schwartz of walking away from GOP positions on issues including tax increases and unions.

"You're going to see many, many more contributions, and contributions from District Republicans who are about making a good choice in the primary and changing the direction of our city," he said.

Schwartz said she's pleased with the committee's endorsement.

"I understand that it was unanimous, and that is especially pleasing," she said.

As far as Mara goes, Schwartz said she's never ignored a challenger.

"I've always had a primary challenger. I've always had a general election challenger," she said. "And of course I take seriously any challenge."

LGBT Group Endorses Brown

The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club has endorsed at-large council member Kwame R. Brown (D), saying Brown "has worked hard to ensure equal rights" for the District's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Brown was cited for his continued support for domestic partnerships, including co-sponsoring legislation that would allow partners to be listed on birth certificates and to be treated the same as married couples.

Longtime Stein Democrats Phil Pannell and Desi Deschaine advocated for the club's endorsement of Brown.

Brown said in the group's release announcing the endorsement that he was honored to receive its support.

"They represent a vital part of our community and their support is appreciated," he said. "All people should be equal under the law, regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation."

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