The events had foreshadowed an election drama even before City Council member Jerry A. Moore Jr. raised the curtain on his write-in campaign last week -- his last-ditch effort to keep the council seat that he has held for 15 years.
A draft movement had convinced Moore that he had enough Democratic supporters to help him write a new ending to a second encounter with Carol Schwartz, who became the Republican at-large council nominee by defeating Moore in the September party primary.
But without warning, the day before Moore's announcement, the Democratic State Committee sent a message that had the potential for ending the drama before all the players were in place.
The state committee adopted a resolution that opposed the idea of Democratic officials organizing or participating in a write-in campaign for a candidate who had been defeated in a party primary. Moore, who was not named, is such a candidate, and six Democratic City Council members actively support his write-in campaign.
The state committee also called for Democrats to vote "only" for candidates who support the national Democratic Party ticket. Moore, the council's lone Republican member and a Ronald Reagan supporter, would not qualify.
Despite the Democratic committee's resolution, Democratic council members have not only continued to support Moore but also have talked about putting their political organizations to work for him.
Thus, District voters, the majority of them Democrats, must determine what impact, if any, the state committee resolution will have.
Explanations from state committee members and reactions from some council members may help voters interpret the resolution.
Theodis R. (Ted) Gay, former chairman of the state committee, introduced the resolution, saying that the state committee should act to enforce party discipline and to protect the party primary process.
"I think if you are going to play the game by party rules, you should adhere to them all the way," said Gay.
Gay has not tried to hide the fact that he supports Statehood Party candidate Josephine Butler for the council seat held by Moore. Some of the other members who support Butler voted for the resolution and some Moore supporters voted against it.
But the vote, 28 to 23 in favor of the resolution, was not merely a reflection of candidate preferences, according to state committee members who attended the meeting.
They said that some candidates were concerned about the message Democratic council members send by supporting a Republican candidate in a local election while Democratic leaders fight to elect a Democratic president.
They also said that some members of the state committee believe that the committee needs to become a strong force in local politics and establish policies that will have long-range impacts.
But City Council members who support Moore disagreed with the state committee. They pointed out that every voter will have two votes in the at-large race and that only one of the six candidates in the race is a Democrat.
"The principle that they support is not operative in a contest when the law limits all parties to the nomination of one person and gives voters a privilege of choosing two," said City Council Chairman David A. Clarke, an active supporter of the Moore draft movement.
City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), another Moore supporter, said that she had received "dozens and dozens" of calls from Ward 4 residents immediately after Moore's defeat in the September primary.
"I consider that I was reacting to an extraordinary amount of concern of Democratic voters in my ward," said Jarvis, who added that the local council election should not be linked to the presidential election.
Some state committee members who opposed the resolution said it was poorly timed.
"If people have already given support to Jerry Moore, it's foolish for us to say you (Democratic officials) can't do that," said state committee member Janette Harris.
Any broad principle that could have been addressed may have been lost in a resolution tailored to fit the Moore write-in candidacy, Harris said.