Ron Richardson, executive secretary-treasurer of Hotel & Restaurant Employees Union Local 25, is cochairman of the District committee formed by Democratic presidential candidate Paul Simon. Richardson's name was inadvertently omitted from an article Wednesday. (Published 1/15/88)
Democratic presidential candidate Paul Simon, bow tie at the ready, swept into the District Building yesterday to become the first 1988 hopeful in his party to personally launch a campaign committee for the District's May 3 primary.
The Illinois senator announced a support committee that will be led by two school board members, Bob Boyd (Ward 6) and Calvin Lockridge (Ward 8), and by Democratic activist Theodis (Ted) Gay and civic leader Connie Fortune, a former president of the League of Women Voters.
Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis established a D.C. campaign committee in August, and groups are being formed for Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Jesse L. Jackson. No other candidate, however, has made a personal appearance to open a local campaign, according to political activists.
Supporters of Jackson, who easily won the District's Democratic presidential primary in 1984, have been slow to organize a committee. Some Jackson supporters have said that that is because he is considered very strong politically and will need less time to put a committee in place. His supporters include Mayor Marion Barry and Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.).
Some politicians say Simon, Dukakis and others are likely to wind up fighting to place second to Jackson in the District.
Lockridge, a veteran of District politics, said he is supporting Simon because "I think it's time for the black community to participate in electing a president." Lockridge suggested Jackson would have a difficult time being nominated and said blacks need to do more than "send a message" by supporting Jackson.
The District will send 24 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in July. Of those, 11 will be chosen in the May 3 primary. The others will be allotted to various pledged and unpledged party and elected officials. The Democrats will hold preliminary caucuses Feb. 6 to determine who will be eligible to run for the delegate slots.
Simon said he supports statehood for the District and even took time to single out Barry for praise. "Mayor Barry has provided a government that cares in Washington, D.C. That's what I want to provide . . . in the White House." Some organizers of the Simon effort said Simon was supposed to have made his comment by referring to Barry's decision to open the District Building last week to homeless people rather than suggest a general endorsement of the mayor.