Mara won’t be doing it alone: A group of city business leaders is soliciting funds for an independent campaign to help elect him.
The effort stands to help Mara catch up on the financial front: He has raised about $32,000 to date, while Sekou Biddle (D), who is filling the seat on an interim basis, has raised about $100,000, and former member Vincent Orange (D-Ward 5) has more than $190,000 banked.
BUD’SPAC, a political fund founded by associates of late parking magnate Leonard “Bud” Doggett, is sending campaign mailers soliciting money and support for an independent campaign to promote Mara through the mails.
The mailer says that Mara “will bring the diversity of opinion and fresh perspective that this Council desperately needs,” adding that the April 26 race is “a very winnable election for Patrick Mara.” He aims to become the first Republican to hold elective city office since Carol Schwartz left the council in early 2009.
“[I]t is estimated that the winner will need 10,000 votes,” the mailer notes. Whatever the PAC raises will be spent on additional mailers that present “positive presentations of who Patrick is and why we support him.” Mailers helped make the difference in Mara’s last race, for an at-large seat in 2008. Mara beat Schwartz in the Republican primary, where GOP voters were targeted by numerous independent mailings that sought to paint Schwartz as insufficiently mindful of the city fisc.
The note is signed by Kate Carr, a well-known local banker, formerly president of Cardinal Bank; Andrew Kline, a prominent lawyer who practices mainly before the Alcohol Beverage Control Board; George Vradenburg, an AOL investor and philanthropist; Cherrie Doggett, Bud’s widow, who runs Doggett’s Parking; Ginger and John Laytham of Clyde’s Restaurant Group; Martin Janis, an executive with Atlantic Parking; Steve Porter, an Arnold & Porter partner and a former chair of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; David Julyan, a city hall lobbyist long associated with Doggett; and Marc Slavin of MarcParc.
“We are Democrats, Republicans and Independents,” they write. “None of us agree with Patrick (or each other) on every issue, but we all agree that the political process is energized and improved by including diverse positions.”
Meanwhile, Biddle is seeking to distance himself from Kwame Brown, who endorsed him before coming under significant criticism for his lease of two Lincoln Navigators at taxpayer expense. City officials testified yesterday that the leases could cost the city in excess of $30,000. Biddle today called on Brown to pay the city back in full.
“At a time when we’re facing massive budget deficits, our goal should be to reduce waste and excess spending,” Biddle said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. “This is the only way to begin restoring trust and credibility in government.”
Brown has pledged to pay the city only for the month he actually used one of the Navigators.