Michael A. Brown ponders entry to D.C. Council special election as Democrat
D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At large) is exploring whether to run for another at-large council seat. If that doesn't make any sense, then you must not be familiar with the political-existential quandary of Michael Brown.
Brown won his seat as an independent in 2008, switching from the Democratic Party in order to fill one of the two citywide council seats reserved for the non-majority party. In the interim, he's made no bones about the fact that he's a Democrat at heart -- his father, Ron Brown, of course, was the first black chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Brown served as a media surrogate for Barack Obama while ostensibly an independent.
So no surprise that Brown is looking for chances to get that (D) back on his name. Earlier this year, he explored whether it would have been possible to switch his party registration in the four-day period between when Chairman-elect Kwame Brown vacates the at-large seat on Jan. 2, and when the D.C. Democratic State Committee fills it with an interim placeholder on Jan. 4. The Board of Elections and Ethics ruled that it was not in fact possible.
But now Brown says that "others are trying to encourage" him to mount a run for Brown's seat in the April 26 special election.
Brown says he plans to make a decision by inauguration day, on Jan. 2. "It's not going to be a long exploration process, but if I continue to get phone calls and e-mails," he said, "definitely I'd think about it."
He declined to name the parties pushing him to run. "By the time I decide, I will clearly make public folks who have encouraged me to do this," he said.
Alysoun McLaughlin, spokeswoman for the Board of Elections and Ethics, said that no official opinion has been rendered on whether Brown could run for the Democratic seat but keep his independent seat if he lost. But Brown and another sitting council member pondering a run, Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), are under the impression that they could.
If Brown won the Democratic seat, it would come at a cost. Yet another citywide special election would have to be scheduled to fill the non-Democratic seat, and that could cost the city another $500,000 on top of the half-mil it already has to spend.
| December 22, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
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