Chanel-like suits and smart knit ensembles have replaced the torn jeans and baggy T-shirts that Sharon Pratt Dixon's daughters wore just a few weeks ago.
"I have to look like an aide now," Aimee Dixon, 21, said of how things have changed since her mother's longshot victory in the Sept. 11 Democratic mayoral primary formalized her job.
Up until the final days before the election, the candidate practically ran the campaign out of her head and her pocketbook. Her K Street headquarters was sparsely staffed, she had little money to spend and her organization was dwarfed by those of her chief rivals.
Now, there aren't enough seats for the hundreds of volunteers who have turned out, the 32 incoming phone lines are often busy, and her moves are plotted by a phalanx of assistants and a few trusted advisers, many of them young and political novices, such as campaign manager David Byrd.
While she once hoped to spend no more than $250,000 in the general election campaign -- the amount she raised in the primary -- Dixon's campaign now plans to put out $250,000 for advertising alone, and has raised the total budget goal to $500,000.
As Dixon braces for her general election battle and ponders the challenges of running the D.C. government, her campaign is experiencing the growing pains of success, according to some aides.
Trusted advisers are moving over to accommodate newcomers from the many interest groups and communities that Dixon -- who ran as an outsider and a reformer -- is now trying to pull into her camp. Some say there is an element of tension between goals and philosophies within the ever-expanding inner circle.
"We need to absorb them, but not become what we ran against," said Byrd, in summing up his concerns. "That has to be done very carefully, and it cannot be done overnight."
As Dixon receives a whirlpool of advice, she says she will stand by her campaign promises, such as removing the boards from all city-owned housing units within a year and shifting the economy away from government and toward the creation of private jobs, despite some advisers' concerns that she may be overpromising in light of a looming recession and large budget deficits.
Bertram M. Lee, a Chicago-based businessman who is helping Dixon raise money and formulate a plan for economic development, said last week, "I would not advise Sharon to say she can cure all ills in however many terms she serves."
Byrd, 29, a college dropout who is running his first campaign, replied with a lesson learned from a grueling primary race, during which income and personal life were forgone. "You shouldn't let the conditions determine the goals . . . . I think the people responded to that, and you owe it to them to try to make it happen," he said.
Dixon, who faces Republican Maurice T. Turner Jr. and nine other candidates in the Nov. 6 general election, bagged considerable human and financial support along with her Democratic nomination. But some advisers fret about what they see as a lack of organization within the campaign, which they say stems in part from inexperience and from Byrd's reluctance to delegate authority.
Dixon, a former vice president of the Potomac Electric Power Co., acknowledged that she too is sometimes cautious about trusting others as she attempts to create "a new power structure out of whole cloth."
Mildred Goodman, the deputy campaign manager and a former Carter administration transportation official, takes a pragmatic approach to Dixon's challenge.
"We ran a very small operation before the primary," she said. "Nobody really believed we could win but us. When they finally stopped reeling, well-wishers came from everywhere. We were flooded. We wanted them to come, but we needed a broader, more detailed structure so we knew where to put them, what to tell them to do."
While acknowledging the need for expansion, Byrd resists a dramatic departure from the primary strategy. "We have to tie ourselves to the mast, kind of like Ulysses, and not listen to the sirens, and not compromise our integrity," he said.
Dixon, who went into the primary with less money than her four Democratic opponents, has already made some concessions to convention.
Several weeks ago, she announced that any general election campaign money she raises in excess of $250,000 would be deposited in a capital growth fund to help minorities and women establish businesses in disadvantaged parts of town.
Now, Byrd said, because the Republican Party is contributing heavily to Turner's coffers, the Dixon campaign is obliged to double its original spending goal.
The campaign that once proudly relied on informal soundings recently commissioned a poll.
Dixon also is consulting her primary opponents and culling their staffs for advice and assistance. While that process is still underway, Byrd said, Bill Jarvis, a nephew of Charlene Drew Jarvis who managed his aunt's campaign, has already volunteered to help with scheduling.
And Johnny Barnes, who was defeated in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council and who was a longtime aide to Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, is now the campaign's political director.
At the core of Dixon's growing campaign structure are a small number of advisers, including Byrd, Goodman, Lee, Stephanie Greene and Benaree Wiley, Dixon's sister.
Byrd, a onetime airline ticket sales representative who briefly worked in the record industry, attended Howard University. Dixon met him while serving on the board of Howard.
Goodman, a member of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, ran Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential campaign in the District. She retired from the U.S. Department of Transportation as deputy director for civil rights, and has served as national president of Blacks in Government. Greene worked on the staff of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry's wife, Effi.
Lee, who is a part owner of radio station WKYS-FM and the Denver Nuggets pro basketball team, is a longtime Dixon supporter who brings a wealth of business experience and political pragmatism. His wife, Laura Murphy Lee, also a supporter, is a Baltimore native who worked as national finance director for Jesse L. Jackson's 1988 presidential bid.
Wiley, who directs the fund-raising, is a Harvard Business School graduate who commutes from Boston, where she is director of admissions for the graduate program at Harvard Law School.
Also part of the inner circle is communications adviser Florence L. Tate, who was Barry's press secretary during his first campaign and first administration and did press relations for Jackson during his 1984 presidential campaign.
Her husband, Charles Tate, president of the Booker T. Washington Foundation, is helping form economic development policy.
"For a long time, Stephanie, Mildred and I were the only adults," Tate said of the small, stalwart core of volunteers who now runs the operation. "The rest were young committed folks who didn't realize she might not win and just hung in there until it worked."
Aimee Dixon, a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, is first among aides to her mother. Drew Dixon, 19, who is taking off a semester from Stanford University to continue working on the campaign, does fund raising and advance work.
Chris Echols, 33, a computer salesman who was co-chairman of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and who coordinated a gay task force for the Dixon campaign, is director of staff operations.
Hampton University graduate Michelle Darden, 24, is the scheduler. Paul Rowe, 32, who graduated from Syracuse University and has a master's degree in business from Howard University, is the field director. Paul Block, 22, an American University graduate, is an issues analyst.
Adam Dennis, 25, who is on leave from graduate studies in international affairs at American University, is in charge of the get-out-the-vote effort.
Sonya Sims, 23, a Howard graduate and Toledo native who says she hopes to be the first woman senator from Ohio, is press secretary. Kenny Sawyer, 22, a nephew of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer, is a driver and youth adviser.
Other advisers include Paul Pryde, of Pryde, Roberts & Co.; Jack Gloster, founder of Opportunities Funding Corp.; and developer Michelle Hagens. Democratic State Committee members Mary Eva Candon, Elona McNeil, Barbara Bell Clark, Edward Black, Janette Hoston Harris and Lillian Huff also are volunteers and advisers.
Dixon's "merry band of reformists," as she describes them, is to spread out into two offices next week. An outreach office for Ward 7 will be opened on Minnesota Avenue NE near the Benning Road Metro stop, and field operations will be at 13th and H streets NE.