Socialists field candidate for mayor, but some back Gray
The D.C Republican Party may not be fielding a candidate for mayor in the November general election, but that doesn't mean the winner of the September Democratic primary won't face competition.
Representatives of the Socialist Workers Party said this week that they have filed more than enough signatures to get Omari Musa on the ballot as the socialist candidate.
Musa is a longtime labor and social justice activist, but it's unclear how close his ties are to the District.
Musa appears too have recently been a political candidate for several offices in Florida, including a 2006 write-in campaign for governor of that state.
A 2006 story by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune said Musa, then chair of the Florida Socialists Workers Party, was a Miami garment worker who campaigned on a platform that included "withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, the defense of affirmative action quotas and abortion rights and 'the unionization of working people.' "
On Aug. 2, The Militant Web site published an article about Musa's current bid for mayor, noting he campaigned last month on a picket line at Washington Hospital Center.
"Lack of medical care is a growing crisis for workers in the District, as in every other part of the country," Musa said. "Under the capitalist system, 'health care' is a profit-making business. Every year hospital owners and pharmaceutical companies make millions, while more and more working people can't afford to visit a doctor or get medicine."
But to say that Musa faces a steep climb to prevail in the November election would be an understatement.
Complicating matters, the socialist vote will be divided if D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray prevails over incumbent Adrian M. Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
On Aug. 3, the rival Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America endorsed Gray, praising his "openness to labor and an attitude of inclusiveness towards the citizens of the District."
"This election is a fight to determine the direction of the District of Columbia," the METRO D.C. Democratic Socialists of America said in a statement. "Will this be a city for working people or only for the wealthy and well connected? DSA is for working people, and that is why we're supporting Vincent Gray."
Regardless of the split within the socialist movement, what does it say about the D.C. Republican Party when the socialist movement appears to be larger players in the mayor's race then the GOP? Republican leaders say they decided not to field a candidate this year because many local Republicans are satisfied with Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
August 20, 2010; 3:08 PM ET
Categories: 2010 District Election , Tim Craig
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