Glenn B. White's political party affiliation was reported erroneously yesterday. He is the Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Washington.
"Testing, testing. Hey, Marion! Marion!"
The sound of E. Brooke Lee's bullhorn cracked across Pennsylvania Avenue, up toward the top floor of the District Building, where Mayor Marion Barry presumably was in his office, hard at work.
"Hey, Marion. You coming down here for a little debate?" boomed the amplified voice, as the Republican candidate for mayor of Washington staged a high-noon media event to call attention to his low-budget campaign and what he says is Barry's refusal to debate him.
"You make it pretty hard to campaign against you -- you and those 28,000 city employes with you," Lee said, keeping up the chatter for about 30 minutes while lunch-time visitors to Western Plaza looked quizzically in his direction.
Annette Samuels, Barry's press secretary, later said Barry had not been aware of Lee's demonstration. Asked if Barry were taking Lee seriously, Samuels replied, "Yes," retreating toward her office and trying to suppress a smile.
Less than three weeks before the Nov. 2 election, Lee is struggling to make voters aware of him while Barry's massive campaign organization that rolled to victory in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary with 58 percent of the vote retools for a more leisurely approach to election day and talks matter-of-factly of plans for transition into a second term.
Lee, a wealthy developer and former sales manager for the Scott Paper Co. who is making his first bid for public office here, faces what some political observers contend are insurmountable problems.
He has little name recognition, a small campaign organization, skeptical support from some local Republicans and a campaign budget of less than $50,000 -- all in a city where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 8 to 1.
The D.C. Republican State Committee has only donated $1,000 to his campaign -- half the legal limit, and the National Republican Committee is only donating part of the money that will be needed to pay for a mailing to the city's approximately 29,000 registered Republicans, according to Nathan Ferris, vice chairman of the local GOP group.
"It's a lot different from the Art Fletcher campaign," said one active Republican, recalling the candidacy of a former assistant secretary of labor who carried the party's banner and received a respectable 28 percent of the vote in his losing bid against Barry in 1978. Less than 10 percent of the registered voters here are Republicans.
Some Republicans say privately that their best hopes are for another respectable showing of sorts. In an interview yesterday, however, Lee said he expects to win the contest by getting disaffected Democrats from the September primary to vote for him, along with Republicans and independents.
Lee had little to say about campaign organization, but said he would hold a campaign workers' meeting next week.
Lee said he expected to do well in all of the city's eight wards except Ward 6, which includes Capitol Hill, near Northeast and some parts of Anacostia, but he did not explain why.
Moments earlier, Lee's campaign manager said that Lee expected to do well except Wards 7 and 8, in far Northeast and Southeast Washington.
Lee's campaign slogan is "More Jobs-Less Crime" and he delights in tweaking Barry on such issues. "People in this town don't like the way you've been handling crime," Lee said yesterday. Lee said he wanted "to buy Marion a nice little candy store" so Barry could see how business owners feel about robberies.
Lee also poked fun at himself yesterday: "What we've got is two nonintellectuals running here, each one of whom when they last took the intelligence test both owed the test six points."
Meanwhile, in the Barry camp, which has raised a record $1.2 million in contributions, many campaign workers hired for the primary have left and some have resumed jobs with the city government. Barry's ward offices have closed and a full-time staff of about 41 workers has been cut back to about a dozen.
"All we are doing is cleaning up and helping other (Democratic) candidates with their concerns," said Ivanhoe Donaldson, Barry's campaign manager. The campaign has not replaced a press secretary who left just days after the primary, and the organization is cutting back on mailings and media advertising.
Theodis (Ted) Gay, chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, said yesterday that his group was trying to keep up voter interest by preparing a "unity" slate with Barry and Democrats running for the Council.
Also running in the Nov. 2 election are Glenn B. White, nominee of the D.C. Statehood Party and publisher Dennis Sobin,