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DeMorning DeBonis: Nov. 2, 2010

TODAY IS NOV. 2, 2010 -- TODAY IS GENERAL ELECTION DAY

PREVIOUSLY -- Hosts of Gray's victory party owe city $860K in taxes -- Last-minute lobbying on elected AG ballot question -- Graham defends Wade against Mara's strong school board challenge -- D.C. election officials pledge smoother vote, earlier count

Today is general election day. A needless anticlimax in this one-party town? Mayhaps, but there are few bits of drama:

1. How well will the write-in-ers do? The die-hard supporters of Mayor Adrian Fenty will not come close to voting their man back into office. But they can send a message to Vince Gray. Five percent -- that's something. Ten percent -- that's interesting. Anything more than 15 percent is embarrassing.

2. How close will the GOP come to a victory? City Republicans took a pass on citywide offices this year, choosing to focus on the four ward council races. David Hedgepeth in Ward 3 will come closest to a win. Four years ago, GOPer Theresa Conroy got 27 percent against Mary Cheh. Will Hedgepeth, capitalizing on discontent at Cheh's snub of Fenty, get 35 percent? Forty percent? Or more?

3. Can Patrick Mara eke out a win? The at-large council candidate who sent Carol Schwartz packing in the Republican primary two years ago is taking another shot at office, with a relentless door-to-door campaign for the nonpartisan State Board of Education seat in Ward 1 -- with a direct challenge to incumbent Dotti Love Wade, who owes her political life to Jim Graham. Wade's been AWOL on the hustings, but Graham's stepped up for Wade in the last week.

4. Is an elected attorney general in our future? Actually, scratch that: There isn't much drama here. Few voters, given the chance to vote on something new, will turn it down. So expect Charter Amendment IV to pass overwhelmingly. But the geographic breakdown of the vote might indicate whose last-minute lobbying efforts were more effective.

5. Does Gerry Connolly survive? Outside the District line, perhaps no single race will affect the city as much as Republican Keith Fimian's bid to unseat Connolly, who has eased into the friend-of-the-District role occupied by predecessor Tom Davis in VA-11. Fimian has betrayed little sympathy for city self-determination, publicly preferring the unworkable retrocession solution. Beware the second coming of Joel Broyhill.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Gray, Brown will party on premises of tax scofflaw -- Michelle Rhee says goodbye for real this time -- Nickles' Last Stand with HTJ -- nurses' tension with WHC management escalates

*** MAIN COURSE ***

NO LOVE LOST -- Story of the day honors to WRC-TV's Tom Sherwood, who digs up exactly how much that bankrupt club owner Marc Barnes owes the District government in back taxes -- $863,000 -- as he prepares to host a victory party for the presumptive mayor and council chairman. More: "Several close associates of the Gray campaign privately worry that the financially troubled nightclub is the wrong image for Gray, who is trying to rally city ministers, community groups and business leaders to his leadership after Tuesday's elections, Sherwood reported. According to a statement released by the Gray campaign, the presumptive mayor-elect wasn't aware of the tax debt but expects to have a big party at Love Tuesday night." Kwame Brown should take special note, given that's he's interested in "going after people who owe us money."

LAST WORDS -- Also from Sherwood: A last-day interview with Michelle Rhee (apparently her last day was Monday, not Friday). Says the now-ex-chance: "We didn't get the bureaucracy to where we needed it to be, but did we move it off of the most sedimentary piece of it? Hopefully we did. ... I'm out of the way, so in many ways you could say this is the best setup that chairman could have, and I have a lot of confidence that he really does want these efforts to continue. But it'll be up to him to make those decisions." Said Gray: "We appreciate the service that she has given to the District of Columbia and I wish her nothing but the best in the future." Also: Starr and Olivia will remain in DCPS for now.

NICKLES V. HTJ -- Peter Nickles' Last Stand will be at Moultrie Courthouse this morning, as the AG petitions a judge to enforce a subpoena for Harry Thomas Jr.'s nonprofit records. Tim Craig reports at D.C. Wire: "Nickles wants information on the group's donors and expenditures, which Thomas has not released to the public. ... 'Since he is not willing to do it voluntarily or by subpoena, we now need a court order, which is extraordinary,' Nickles said. 'This is a very unusual situation where a council member has refused to provide a single document.' Thomas's attorney, Frederick D. Cooke, said he plans to fight Nickles's subpoena, arguing that he does not have the 'authority' to demand the documents from a council member. Cooke said Thomas plans to voluntarily release the information, but will not do so under pressure from Nickles. 'If it were not for this crazy litigation, he probably would have released it today,' Cooke said."

VIVA REPUBLICANS, PART 17 -- Harry Jaffe joins the yay-for-Republicans chorus in his Examiner column today -- in his Stephen Colbert voice: "Nation! This is a travesty, a perversion of democracy, more Soviet than American. Once again we are reminded that the capital of the most powerful democratic nation on the globe is a one party town: Democrats rule, by outnumbering Republicans 10-1 in registered voters. Where's the Tea Party when you need one? Why can't we have a serious, loyal opposition in the District? ... For those of us who cling to the two-party system, I see hope in the D.C. Republican Party. The local GOP chose not to run a candidate for mayor, in part because Fenty was so Republican. Likewise, it chose to sit out the races for council chair and at-large. But serious and attractive Republicans are campaigning against incumbent Democrats in the four ward races: 1, 3, 5 and 6." Also, Harry: "Dana Hedgepeth" is not running for the Ward 3 council seat. Dana Hedgpeth, however, is an awesome Washington Post reporter. (Dontcha hate when your beats get mixed up?)


*** SMALL PLATES ***

Washington Hospital Center nurses want DOH to investigate understaffing allegations (Post)

Freeman Klopott says "big question" of election is how close GOP can come in ward races (Capital Land)

Sure was nice of Alan Suderman to go to that D.C. Dems rally on Saturday (Loose Lips)

A few good ideas for improving ANCs (Housing Complex)

ABC Board orders DC9 closed for another 30 days (TBD)

The official teachers union response to the Fenty/Rhee test-score improvement claim (Shanker Blog)

Ward 5 goes to war against strip clubs (Bates Area Civic Association)

Chandra Levy murder trial update: Some former congressman guy testified (Post)

Today's Sign of the Apocalypse: A Capitol Hill ANC candidate is robocalling (Loose Lips)

The Taiwanese cartoon dramatizing Fenty and Rhee "pushes a simplistic narrative about the D.C. mayor's race, teachers' unions and education reform" -- a cartoonish narrative, perhaps? (TBD)

Jack Evans, Phil Mendelson send messages to Kwame via Examiner! (Capital Land)

Michael Brown rejects the "gender binary"! (TBD/Amanda Hess)

Media outlets challenge gag order in Robert Wone civil trial (Blade)

DMV's Anacostia vanity plate has a design problem or two (City Desk)

DOH monitoring "Four Loko" abuse (Vox Populi)

More coverage of CareFirst decision (Insurance and Financial Advisor)

Residents line up for utility assistance (WTTG-TV)

Rescue dog group files complaint regarding Adams Morgan Day dog shooting (Change.org)

Does Nickles' foreclosure policy go far enough? (NBCWashington.com)

Top teachers honored at KenCen gala hosted by Fenty-connected Public Education Fund -- featuring Dave Grohl, Arne Duncan, Tom Friedman, David Gregory and more! (Post)


*** ON THE MENU **

It's election day, people -- polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. -- here's a list of parties

By Mike DeBonis  | November 2, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike, The District  
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Next: Polls open smoothly in District

Comments

"Hosts of Gray's victory party?" Like Gray has anything do do with this, or this has anything to do with Gray? Who is it anyway, or is it only important that it's "Gray's hosts?"

And Douglas Development Corp, you now Doug Jemal, buddy of Fenty's, owes the city 6 million, 10% of all the outstanding taxes due to the city. I wonder why that wasn't worth mentioning?

Posted by: jamietre | November 2, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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