Ward 1 D.C. Council candidate Marc Morgan, a Republican, says the GOP “has some work to do” on issues impacting gays and blacks like himself.
“Looking back through history, the Republican Party was always the party that supported freedom, prosperity, and community,” he told me. “As the party changed, so did its focus on these issues when it came to the African-American community. … I’m confident the message of equality and supporting projects around HIV/AIDS prevention will begin to gain greater traction with local and state parties, which in turn will help the message unfold at the national level.”
He says the D.C. GOP “is very progressive on LGBT issues, supported gay marriage in the District, and been very involved with LGBT organizations.” He hopes to work with the national Republican Party “to help develop a stronger platform that supports diversity, by promoting a responsive party” that is diverse and accepting. “I feel that we are to change the hearts and minds of some Republicans that do not accept homosexuality, we need people like me to remind them, daily, that we can all have positive, productive lives, while still supporting core values like fiscal reasonability.”
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Though his rival, Democratic incumbent Jim Graham, is also openly gay, Morgan says he has received a lot of support from LGBT groups during his campaign. While he is an underdog, Morgan thinks he has a shot at victory.
“In a midterm election in D.C., voter turnout is normally very low,” he said. Based on the turnout of about 12,000 voters four years ago, Morgan says his “game plan all along has been to move about 6,000 votes. We are well on our way to achieving that goal.”
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* D.C. Watch’s Dorothy Brizill threw City Administrator Neil Albert off guard when she complained that Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans “used four large Department of Parks and Recreation buses to transport guests to his birthday party” this month. When she stopped Albert outside the party “and pointed to the buses, he first tried to deny that they were District government vehicles. When I pointed out the District logos on the buses and the District government license plates on them, he said that he would look into the matter. Then he turned around and went back inside the party to speak to Evans.”
* Lino Stracuzzi, who lost the D.C. Statehood Green Party primary for congressional delegate by 34 votes in September, is alleging that the vote count was “seriously tainted.” He says that when he went to vote, he was first handed a Democratic ballot, and that other members of his party told him that they too were initially given the wrong ballot. Stracuzzi says that while 792 Statehood Greens signed in to vote, only 599 ballots were cast in the party’s primary -- and that in 11 precincts, there were more Statehood Green votes cast than party members who signed in to vote. Stracuzzi says he believes there are “widespread discrepancies in the voter turnout and ballot totals in all three party primaries.”
* Washington City Paper’s Alan Suderman looks ahead to the “bloody turf battles” likely to ensue when the boundaries of D.C.’s eight wards are redrawn after census numbers are released. Suderman says “the main event” could be between Ward 6’s Tommy Wells and Ward 8’s Marion Barry. Barry advocates more economic and racial diversity within each ward, and “there’s some speculation in the Wilson Building that Barry wouldn’t mind expanding his political influence over the Southwest Waterfront development.” Wells opposes what he called Barry’s desire “to take some from Ward 6 for Ward 8.” The Southwest blog says the Waterfront was actually part of Ward 2 before the last round of redistricting.
* The Washington Post continues its campaign against Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., saying in an editorial this morning that he should reveal the donor list and expenditures of his Team Thomas nonprofit group before next week’s election. While Thomas “said it is ‘abusive political tactics’” for D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles “to launch an inquiry so close to the election into the organization,” it is actually “an abuse of his voters for Mr. Thomas to ask them to go to the polls without full information.” The Post quite fairly observes that “if there is nothing untoward, Mr. Thomas should welcome the opportunity” to clear the air.
* The Post’s Bill Turque reports Washington Teachers’ Union General Vice President Nathan Saunders led current president George Parker in the election for union leadership, but that Saunders did not achieve a majority in the four-way race, making a runoff necessary. Parker “negotiated a contract with Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee that triggered significant changes in how teachers are managed and paid,” which transformed his former running mate Saunders into a “vocal critic.”
* Gov. Bob McDonnell did little to quiet rumors of presidential ambitions when he headed off toward leadoff caucus state Iowa yesterday (though the Post says bad weather forced him down in Wisconsin instead) -- before moving on to New Hampshire, the first primary state, today. But while the schedule would make sense for someone with presidential ambitions, it’s probably more of a coincidence in this case. McDonnell is traveling with a few other governors to rally support for Republican candidates. The tour is led by Mississippi’s Haley Barbour -- who is probably going to actually run in 2012.
* The Post says Bob Ehrlich, campaigning Wednesday in Montgomery County, “said he is unlikely to run for public office again if he loses” next week. But though recent polls show Ehrlich far behind Gov. Martin O’Malley, Ehrlich “sounded upbeat about his prospects,” saying that his internal campaign polls show O’Malley “ahead by less than 3 percentage points. Aides declined to released a copy of the poll.” Meanwhile, the Post’s Mike DeBonis says some critics say Ehrlich has not done enough to introduce his running mate Mary Kane to voters. One pollster said Kane “has been ‘next to invisible’ even by the standards of gubernatorial running mates.”
* In his final prediction of the 2010 campaign season, Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia says 11th District Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat, should manage to hold his seat against Republican Keith Fimian, even as Sabato predicts a net GOP gain of 55 House seats across the country. The Falls Church News-Press agrees, saying that both Connolly and fellow Democrat Jim Moran of the Eighth District will probably be re-elected.
Moran is facing a spirited challenge from Republican Patrick Murray, but Sabato says Moran is safe. Murray got some unwanted media attention when his campaign bus “swiped a Jeep in Old Town Alexandria” on Tuesday evening “and drove off without leaving a note,” as ARLnow reported. The Murray campaign “says the driver left a note. Alexandria Police say they’re investigating the accident as a hit and run, but also say that someone on the bus left a note.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “is pumping more than $1 million” into Connolly’s race in the final days. The Manassas News & Register reports Connolly, Fimian, and Libertarian nominee David Dotson debated at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center Wednesday night.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC