Some members of the D.C. Council are questioning the decision of the D.C. Democratic State Committee (DCDSC) to endorse candidates during the 2004 primary [Metro, Sept. 7]. As chairman of the state committee, I am troubled by this distortion of the endorsement process.

The DCDSC appointed a five-member committee to develop recommendations, which were presented to the full body. The results were sent to all D.C. Democratic elected officials. No Democratic elected official or DCDSC member registered an objection.

One hundred twenty-five Democrats attended the Aug. 31 endorsement meeting. All Democratic candidates were telephoned, e-mailed and snail-mailed about the meeting. Most attended; D.C. Council members Sandy Allen and Kevin P. Chavous, while aware of the meeting, did not.

After some discussion, the committee approved the endorsements process. Only eight of the 45 committee members present opposed it. I had no "agenda," as has been claimed. I made no calls to committee members regarding their vote or their attendance at the meeting.

Each candidate for congressional delegate, congressional representative (shadow), national committee member, at-large Council member, and Council member for Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8 made a presentation. A question-and-answer period was followed by voting by the 45 committee members present. Votes were counted in the open and recorded before the full body. Those who received 60 percent or more of the vote were endorsed.

These are the facts. Yet some elected Democrats in the District are making public accusations of back-room dealing. They have gone on the attack without speaking to me first or knowing all the facts.

Moreover, the ward Democratic organizations endorse candidates in the primary, and Democratic candidates vie for these endorsements. How is it acceptable for ward organizations, which make up a significant part of the DCDSC, to endorse but not the committee itself?

The efforts of a small opposition group are fanning the flames of division within the party. Their attacks on me and the committee are wrong, unnecessary and misguided.



D.C. State Committee