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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 01/19/2011

Bryan Weaver enters at-large race

By Tim Craig

Bryan Weaver, a Ward 1 community activist who unsuccessfully challenged D.C. Council member Jim Graham last year, announced Wednesday that he is entering the race for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

During an interview on TBD/News Channel 8, Weaver said he decided to run for the seat currently held by interim member Sekou Biddle after a two-week effort by bloggers and liberal activists to draft him as a candidate.

"It is humbling to have your message resonate with a group of people," said Weaver, referring to an effort organized on Twitter by Dave Stroup, a local writer and blogger.

In his unsuccessful campaign against Graham, Weaver made inroads by reaching out to younger voters and progressives by stressing issues centered around qualify of life and new solutions for transportation.

Weaver released a series of YouTube videos that generated citywide attention, earning him a distinction from Washington City Paper of producing the "funkiest campaign ad of the season."

But on Election Day, Weaver struggled against Graham's well-oiled political machine in Ward 1, drawing 21 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Still, Weaver told host NewsTalk host Bruce Depuyt Wednesday he sees room for another liberal candidate in the at-large race.

"I don't see any of the 18 people there speaking on the progressive side of the ledger," said Weaver, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner.

Weaver, who founded a nonprofit organization that that uses basketball to reach out to at-risk youth, also is likely to campaign on reforming the city's juvenile justice system.

"We fail children in the District at every single level," Weaver said.

Earlier Wednesday, School Board member Patrick Mara announced he's also a candidate in the April 16 special election. Mara, a liberal Republican with many Democratic supporters, also lives in Ward 1.

By Tim Craig  | January 19, 2011; 10:50 AM ET
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