Gray is not the only color in the rainbow of D.C. mayoral wannabes. There’s also Green and Brown.
Though Mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray are getting all the attention, there will actually be seven candidates on the Democratic ballot on September 14. The Republicans, who took just 6 percent of the vote to Fenty’s 89 percent in 2006, are not fielding a candidate; the Statehood Greens have yet to name their standard-bearer.
So who are these other would-be mayors?
Best known is Leo Alexander, a former reporter for NBC4 who later worked in public affairs positions for D.C. General Hospital and the city Public Housing Authority. Alexander has received some media attention, appearing on local radio talk shows; he has also been a regular at campaign forums and is running an active campaign.
As I wrote last month, Alexander -- though a supporter of civil unions -- has won the backing of gay marriage opponents such as the Eagle Forum and the National Organization for Marriage. Lately, he is focusing more on illegal immigration. On his Facebook page today, Alexander notes that the civil rights movement was about jobs and opportunity, not government handouts, and asks, “So why now does it seem that progressives/liberals seem to care more about the unemployment of Central Americans than the record unemployment rates of Washingtonians?”
Also running is Carlos Allen, founder of what he calls an “internationally recognized humanitarian website” and a “world recognized” magazine. Allen’s agenda is rather vague, but Allen himself is pretty splashy. He used to host what DCist called “gaudy invite-only parties” at the Mt. Pleasant rowhouse he dubbed the “HushGalleria Mansion."
But Allen is best known for being the alleged “third crasher” at the November 2009 White House state dinner made infamous by the national public debut of Tareq and Michaele Salahi. (Allen claims he was an invited guest.) Allen is milking the incident, running for mayor under the slogan, “Let’s Crash the Nonsense out of D.C. Politics.”
Candidate Sulaimon Brown is a disenchanted former Fenty volunteer who works as an accountant. His campaign website prominently displays photos of Brown with President Obama and Vice President Biden -- and says Brown “has helped in efforts to get White House Legislation passed and most recently trying to get a Supreme Court nominee appointed.” (The site also says Brown “graduated from the University of the District of Colombia.”)
To say Michael Green is running a stealth campaign is an understatement. He has no website and has attracted no news coverage. In the 2007 Ward 4 Council special election that elected Muriel Bowser, Green finished 17th out of 19 candidates.
Ernest Johnson’s website displays a picture of the candidate at a small anti-gay marriage rally. The realtor has self-published a book about his incarceration on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery, and his post-prison turn to Christianity. Johnson calls his campaign “the People’s Revolution”, and has vowed to win D.C. voting rights within his first year in office.
While there are no Republican or Statehood Green contenders yet, two independents, Jason Anderson and Edward Baltimore, plan to run, though neither has a web presence. Dennis Sobin, a former brothel owner who had been seeking the Democratic nomination -- and who defended Fenty against jeers at the D.C. Democratic Convention -- recently quit the race and endorsed Gray, but said he may run as an independent if Fenty wins the primary.
And of course, there’s Faith. The former Faith Dane -- Broadway player, bugle-blower, and onetime Marlon Brando paramour -- is making her sixth run for mayor, this time as a write-in candidate. She has signs up around the city, pointing voters to her website -- which hasn’t been updated since 2007.