One of the District’s newest Republicans, Ronald L. Moten, is considering running in the special election this spring for a citywide at-large seat on the D.C. Council.
But Moten, a self-described “Civil Rights Republican” who unsuccessfully ran this year for the Ward 7 council seat, says he will reconsider his ties to the GOP if he makes another run for office.
Moten received 12 percent of the vote last week in his campaign against council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7).
Arguably, Moten turned in a solid performance in a ward in which 85 percent of residents are registered Democrats. But Moten said he’s discouraged that he didn’t receive more financial support from local and national GOP leaders.
“I offer something they can’t offer and didn’t get supported the way I should have gotten supported,” Moten said in an interview. “If my message could have gotten out to the people, I would won … but I couldn’t reach the masses ‘cause I didn’t have the money.”
Though GOP candidates in the District often struggle to raise money, Moten said it’s inexcusable that Republican donors from the city donated millions to Mitt Romney’s presidential bid and the Republican National Committee while he couldn’t even afford a paid campaign manager.
“I believe there are a lot of things in the party that would help my people,” said Moten, a co-founder of Peaceoholics. “I honestly believe that, but if they are not going to embrace the people or reach out, that doesn’t make any difference.”
Despite his loss last week, Moten said there’s an even chance he may enter the race for the council seat left vacant by Phil Mendelson’s (D) election as chairman.
If he doesn’t run, Moten said he hopes to play the role of “king maker” by working tirelessly for another candidate.
He mentioned independent A.J. Cooper, Republican Patrick Mara or Ward 8 activist Leon Swain Jr. as candidates he may get behind if he doesn’t run himself.
“In a special election, where 1,500 people decide who wins or not, I can be a kingmaker,” Moten said. “I believe 80 percent of the population is disengaged, especially in my community…so what we have to do is energize and educate and include those normally outside the bubble, and that I something I know I can do in an at-large race.”
If he runs himself, Moten said he hopes to retain the “civil rights Republican” label. But Moten, a former Democrat, said he would first want more assurances from GOP leaders that they would be willing to put more resources behind his effort.
“If the Republican Party does not support me, I cannot make the same mistake,” Moten said. “But I truly believe in the principles of the Republican Party that are missing in the African-American community – self reliance, family and spirituality.”
Moten said his views are one reason he has no plans to rejoin the Democratic Party should he run for council. Moten said he’s also not likely to run as independent, saying he firmly believes candidates should be rooted in specific principles
“I could start my own party,” Moten said.