D.C. Mayor: What the Neighbors Say
If you were running for political office, would your neighbors contribute to your campaign? Would their decision to do so--or not to do so--tell voters anything about who you really are?
In the D.C. mayoral race, a nifty new tool that lets you plug in any address in town to see who your neighbors are contributing to reveals that some candidates haven't exactly made loyal friends out of their immediate neighbors.
I plugged the four major mayoral candidates' home addresses into the program and found that Linda Cropp hasn't managed to bring home the bacon from her Gold Coast neighbors in Ward 4. In fact, among Cropp's closest neighbors, it's the local ward council member, mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty, who has drawn the largest number of donors, 16, compared to Cropp's seven. And it's longshot Marie Johns who has collected the most money from Cropp's neighbors, $6350 (but only from four donors), barely edging Fenty's $6310. Cropp collected but $1650 from those neighbors. Do they know something we don't?
Over in Fenty's neighborhood just a few blocks away from Cropp, the neighborly love is much more evident, in the form of $8058 in contributions from 21 neighbors. Cropp's appeal in Fenty's backyard barely registers; she's collected $1100 there from four donors. No other candidate picked up more than $100 in that immediate neighborhood.
Fenty also won the hearts, or at least the checks, of Marie Johns' tonier neighbors in Spring Valley, where the former phone company executive, who has only lived in the District for a few years, pulled in $2850 from six donors, while Fenty collected $14,510 from nine of Johns's neighbors. Cropp has received $4550 from six donors in Johns's immediate neighborhood. (I asked Johns why she thought her neighbors weren't inspired to give to her campaign, and she said "It takes money to get money. My campaign has been a largely grassroots campaign." This is what is known as a nonresponsive response.)
Finally, Michael Brown, who has pitched his campaign primarily to the classic Marion Barry political base of, as the Mayor for Life always put it, "the last, the least and the lost," has not made the sale to his Chevy Chase neighbors. Brown has collected but $1100 from two neighbors, while Cropp has donations of $1150 from three of Brown's neighbors, Johns has $450 from two of them, and Fenty once more cleans up, with $10,225 from 25 of those who live closest to Brown.
(All of these numbers are based on a look at the 40 or so donations made to mayoral candidates from addresses closest to the homes of these four candidates; the results are therefore only rough estimations of the fundraising that each candidate has done in his home neighborhood.)
So what have we learned? You could conclude that Fenty is well liked in some of the city's most affluent areas, where Johns and Brown live. But the numbers also indicate that Fenty is best liked by those who know him well--his own neighbors and Cropp's neighbors in middle class areas in Ward 4, where residents are most likely to know Fenty's work.
Johns has obviously won some support in some of the city's more well-to-do sections, but her contributions there tend to be fewer and larger than Fenty's. In this sample, as in more reliable citywide numbers, Fenty has both the largest number of contributions and the smallest average donations, indicating deeper support from those who are not rolling in money.
And why is it that Cropp shows so little support from her own neighbors? Any thoughts from folks who live around there?
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