The Washington Post

Power players line up behind Michael Brown

A group of prominent power players is hosting a fundraiser for Michael A. Brown’s D.C. Council campaign, giving some early indications of where the District’s political establishment might throw its support in the coming at-large special election.

Lobbyists David W. Wilmot and Bruce C. Bereano, real-estate developer Warren C. Williams Jr. and construction company owner Casey B. Stringer are co-hosting the March 7 event at Wilmot’s Colonial Village home.

The fundraiser comes as Brown tries to clear the wreckage of his previous at-large campaign — a losing bid for re-election as an independent in which $113,950 went missing from his campaign bank account. Thus far, Brown’s fundraising has been underwhelming, raising only $9,500 by the last reporting deadline, well behind most of his competition.

Brown, now running as a Democrat, would find it hard to assemble a higher-powered group of insiders as he seeks to catch up: Wilmot is among the top-billing and most influential of John A. Wilson Building power brokers, a formidable fundraiser with wide-ranging political and business interests dating back to the 1980s. Bereano is best known for his work in Annapolis but has become increasingly involved in D.C. matters since his old fraternity brother Vincent C. Gray entered politics a decade ago. Williams has been in the news lately for being the businessman at the center of a 2008 contracting dispute that resulted this week in a reprimand for council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Stringer, managing member of Broughton Construction Co., is a relative neophyte to the city political scene though was described as a “native Washingtonian” in a Washington Business Journal interview last year.

Williams said he was impressed with Brown’s commitment to affordable housing while he was on the council — particularly the “New Communities” projects in which his Warrenton Group is a frequent development partner.

“After seeing Michael push so hard for the New Communities to be built when he was chairman, it was natural to want to see him back on the council, and hopefully he will fight to have more affordable housing built,” he said.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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