Will Bonds Pick Bonds To Replace Brown?

By Kriston Capps
|  Wednesday, Sep 15, 2010  |  Updated 6:31 PM EDT
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Will Bonds Pick Bonds To Replace Brown?

NBCWashington.com

Kwame Brown

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The D.C. election is not quite over. There is the minor matter of the general election, but for the incumbents (and Mayor-apparent Vincent Gray) who carried the day in the D.C. Democratic primary, that race is a step as perfunctory as signing new-hire forms in HR. One legitimate race remains: A special election to fill the At-Large Council seat left vacant by soon-to-be-Council chair Kwame Brown.

Some time next spring, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics will host an election to fill his seat. Yet the contest is already underway for would-be At-Large Seatholders. The D.C. Democratic State Committee will be responsible for picking the person who will hold Brown's seat in the meantime -- and enjoy a clear advantage in the runup to the election. 

According to the Washington Post's Ann Marimow, those candidates include Ward 5 Council member Harry Thomas, unsuccessful At-Large candidate and former Parks and Recreation director Clark Ray, D.C. Democratic State Committee Chair Anita Bonds, former At-Large candidate Adam Clampitt, Ward 1 committeeman Stanley Mayes, and Ward 8 Chair Jacque Patterson.

Hold up -- the Democratic State Committee will pick the winner in a contest in which the Democratic State Committee Chair is running?

As it happens, Bonds and Mayor-elect Vincent Gray have worked well together in the past. Though Bonds did not officially endorse anyone in the race, in the runup to the election she told News Talk 1450, "Some people find the mayor to be a little distant" -- essentially parroting the major Gray campaign talking point.

And in a controversial but long-forgotten incident from 2008, Council Chair Gray used official Council stationery to lobby Comcast for $20,000 on the D.C. Democratic State Committee's behalf. The Office of Campaign Finance ruled that Gray had done nothing wrong in acting in his capacity as an advocate for statehood, as Jonetta Rose Barras reported.

 Presumably Bonds will recuse herself from her role on the committee that will select the temporary At-Large Council member -- unless she decides, a la former Vice President Dick Cheney, to select herself for the job. But if the D.C. Democratic State Committee selects Bonds, how much confidence can D.C. voters put in that selection?

The D.C. Democratic State Committee did not immediately return calls for comment.

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