Thies: Michael Brown Drops Out of D.C. Special Election

Michael A. Brown, a former D.C. Council member who sought to regain the seat he once held, has dropped out of the special election for at-large D.C. Council.

In a written statement, Brown said:

"It is with extreme disappointment that I am announcing my withdrawal from the At-Large Council race. I have some very important personal and family matters that require my immediate attention. Thank you to my family, friends, and supporters for your understanding."

Brown added:

"I will not be making an endorsement. Vote Democrat!"

Brown's comeback bid has been lackluster to date. His fundraising has been weak and Brown has not received any endorsements from the labor unions or political figures who have supported him in the past.

The Washington City Paper's Loose Lips columnist, Alan Suderman, speculates that Brown's departure from the race could be a boost for Anita Bonds.

"Bonds and Brown were likely to split votes among African-Americans in the eastern half of the city," wrote Suderman.

Though Brown has ended his campaign, his name will appear on the ballot.

Bonds is now the lone African-American Democrat in the race. Unlike Brown, however, Bonds is not a household name in the District.

Brown is a proven vote-getter even when he is not on the ballot. In 2010, a different Michael Brown received 35,000 votes in a citywide election. Most of those votes came from majority-African-American precincts.

In 2012, Michael A. Brown speculated that he lost votes to the "other Michael Brown."

Are you confused yet?

Taking advantage of Brown's departure will not be as easy as it may appear at first glance. Bonds's first order of business is increasing her name recognition among voters and inspiring them to head to the polls on April 23.

Part of Brown's campaign strategy has been to trade on his well-known name. He has also worked for many years to create goodwill and a base. His voters by no means automatically transfer to Bonds.

In addition to Bonds and Brown, Matthew Frumin, Patrick Mara, Perry Redd, Elissa Silverman and Paul Zukerberg will appear on the ballot.

The non-partisan special election for at-large Council is April 23.

Chuck Thies is a political, communications and advocacy consultant. From 1998 to 2010 his portfolio included District of Columbia politics. Chuck has worked on national projects and internationally in Europe, Africa, the Middle East , China and Mexico. If you are daring, follow him on twitter: @ChuckThies.

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