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Your D.C. candidates, in 100 words or less

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If you're a registered District voter, you should have had an official D.C. voter guide delivered to your mailbox last week.

The guide, which contains brief statements from each candidate on the primary ballots, represents each hopeful's most direct conduit to voters. Inside the pages of the voter guide, all candidates are equal -- everyone gets 100 words to make their case, with only one restriction: The Board of Elections and Ethics "will not print offensive statements made against any other candidates in the election."

So how did the candidates use their 100 words? Here's a sampling ...

THE ROYAL WE -- No divisive "I"s and "you"s for Ward 5 incumbent Democrat Harry Thomas Jr.; he says we're all in this together. "I look forward to continuing our partnership," he writes.

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MAKE A LIST -- For her statement, incumbent Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) eschewed such hidebound traditions as sentences and paragraphs, instead appealing to voters with a two-tiered outline.

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GOOGLE IT -- Natale "Lino" Stracuzzi, Statehood Green candidate for congressional delegate, opts for a list much like the incumbent he seeks to challenge. His statement contains seven verbs; five of them are "Google." In other words, Stracuzzi used 30 of his 100 words to repeat the same six-word phrase five times.

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CHECK IT OFF -- Darryl Moch, Statehood Green candidate for at-large council member, made full use of his typographical options, using bold, bold-italics, underlined, and ALL CAPS text to make his points. Also: check the check marks!

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JOB CRED -- Not sure Dave Hedgepeth, a Republican running for a Ward 3 seat, can handle the strenuous workload of a D.C. Council member? Never fear: He's a "Litigation Support Specialist for CACI helping clients handle large-scale litigation matters from discovery through appeal" -- very handy for those endless council investigations. Also, some catnip for the Ward 3 crowd: His wife works at NPR!

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PUSH THE ENVELOPE -- Vincent Gray, Democrat for mayor, goes farther than most other candidates in swiping at his opponent by promising to represent "all District resident not just a select few" and vowing to "put an end to cronyism." Also, in Grayworld, why use commas when you can use semicolons?

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THE QUOTABLE CANDIDATE -- Incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty gives his statement that personal touch by (a) writing in the first person and (b) surrounding it in quotes. This isn't some remote voice of God -- this is the mayor talkin'!

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THE QUOTABLE CANDIDATE II -- Phil Mendelson, the incumbent at-large council member, lends his statement some gravitas both by using Wilson Building insider jargon ("at odds with the executive") and by opting for a byline, giving it a Barlett's Quotations-esque heft.

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WRITE A LETTER -- Vincent Orange, Democrat running for council chairman, gives voters a big ole "Hello" before assuring them that he is, in fact, Vincent Orange and that he is, in fact, running for council chairman. Also: Please note that you'll be voting Sept.14, 2010, and not some other year.

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ENHANCE THE RÉSUMÉ -- Democratic mayor hopeful Sulaimon Brown deems himself a "Democratic Political Strategist," having worked for the likes of Fenty, Barack Obama and council member Michael Brown. Also: He's clearly proud of being a Ward 5 resident -- hence the bold type!

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By Mike DeBonis  |  August 23, 2010; 5:20 PM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010 , The District  
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Next: Orange ekes out straw poll win in his own backyard

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