Jim Graham Attracts a Potential Challenger

By Mike DeBonis
|  Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009  |  Updated 6:45 PM EDT
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Jim Graham Attracts a Potential Challenger

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Jim Graham Attracts a Potential Challenger was originally published on City Desk on Nov. 03, 2009, at 4:19 pm
 

Is someone finally taking a whack at scandal-softened Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham?

Bryan Weaver, the longtime Adams Morgan activist and advisory neighborhood commissioner, filed exploratory papers with the Office of Campaign Finance on Tuesday.

To explore a run against the sure-to-be-well-financed three-term incumbent, Weaver has thus far raised the princely sum of $2,500.

Exploratory bids have been rare since campaign finance laws changed some years back, but Weaver, 39, says his campaign is indeed merely speculative at the moment. “I have my opinions on what’s important to me and to the ward,” he says. “Maybe it’s a minority opinion, I don’t know.” Hence the de rigueur “listening tour.”

Why ponder a run? Weaver cites “a difference in ideas and what’s important to the ward,” pointing in particular to “an utter lack of transparency in government and a feeling that there’s a certain group of people who have a seat at the table because of contributions that they give.”

And even if Graham’s longtime chief of staff, Ted Loza, hadn’t been arrested on Sept. 24 as part of a federal bribery sting, Weaver says he’d still be looking at the race. “If you take a foreign trip for 30 days organized by someone with business before the council”—a not-so-veiled reference to alleged Loza briber Abdulaziz Kamus and a 2006 trip to Ethiopia—“no congressman could get away with that,” he says. “I want to hold my city councilmember to the same standards.”

Graham’s campaign apparatus, meanwhile, is grinding to life. He filed his re-election papers in September, and political consultant Chuck Thies has signed on to deliver zinger quotes on his behalf.

“I wish him well. Running as a first-time candidate always presents a number of unforeseen challenges,” he says, playing up Graham’s strong backing in “every part” of Ward 1. “That base of support will surely need to be considered by Bryan as he explores a possible candidacy.”

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