Conventional Wisdom

Photo by Washington City Paper
"You put me out in Denver..."
"You put me out in Denver..."


There has been some talk and a bit of news this week about various people seeking to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

It is difficult to get excited about a convention where the nominee is a foregone conclusion and delegates will rubber stamp an issues platform written by the White House. The Party faithful are largely window-dressing relegated to filling seats, wearing funny hats, eating and drinking.

But there is one thing worthy of your attention: Marion Barry wants to be a delegate.

Please do not let this happen. You have a vote. Use it. And when you do, do not vote for Marion Barry.

Barry is part of slate that calls itself "D.C. for Obama 2012." The slate has nothing to do with the Obama campaign. It is just a catchy name.

There are other slates: "51st State for Obama," "One City for Obama," "Obama Onward," and "Obama, Biden and D.C." They, too, have no connection to the Obama campaign.

Do not be confused by slates. Vote for people you know. If you do not know anyone who is running, talk to the candidates. The good candidates will be at the polls greeting voters when the D.C. Democratic Party holds its election to select 7 men and 7 women to serve as convention delegates.

Some of the hopefuls have been involved in party politics for years; others are relatively new and tout a message of reform. I believe there are good candidates on every slate.

When you come out to vote, I assure a fascinating glimpse into grassroots politics and conversations you will not forget.

All registered Democrats residing in the District can vote. The election is this Saturday, March 3rd, from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The only polling place is at the University of the District of Columbia, Building 46E, Connecticut Avenue and Windom Place NW (Van Ness-UDC Metro).

Whenever I travel outside of the D.C. metropolitan region the one local politician who people can name is Marion Barry.

He is a walking public relations disaster for the District.

Barry's antics at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver generated the infamous City Paper cover pictured above.

In the summer of 2008 much of the nation and most of the press corps were going gaga over Barack Obama. The news that came out Denver was all about Obama. This year, reporters may be looking for a sideshow.  Please, District Democrats, do not send Barry to the convention.

Take some time on Saturday to vote, and vote for someone other than Marion Barry.

Don't get me wrong. I like Barry. A conversation with him is often mesmerizing. His insight and views are illuminating.

But liking Barry and wanting him to represent our great city are two different things. 

At the 1996 Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton spoke of building a bridge to the 21st century. There are times when I feel as though the District did not make it all the way across that bridge. Though our woes are not entirely his fault, the Barry legacy is a ball and chain.

Marion Barry is an iconic, inspirational and uplifting figure for some people here in the District, but we can do better than to be represented by him on the national stage.


Candidates for D.C. Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention



District 1 Male Candidates

Barry, Marion

Batchelor, Markus

Bink, Adam

Carroll, Kevin Scott

Casey, Tim

Cendana, Gregory

Cristaldo, Mario

Degner, Jonathan

Edmondson, Alonzo

Evans, Jack

Glasner, Ariel

Johnson, Lenwood

Lanning, Stephen

Lim, Timothy

Mathews, David

McCarthy, Gregory

McGahee, Reginald

Meadows, David

Muhammad, Anthony

Richardson, Jeffrey

Rodriguez, Hector

Thornton, Justin

Wilson, Charles

District 1 Female Candidates

Anderson, Courtney

Sheila Bunn

Carson-Smith, Winifred

Cuthbert, Mary

Dickerson, Brenda

Farr, Anamarie

Farris, Phoebe

Lopez, Denise

May, LaRuby

Meehan, Susan

Morton, Kim

Nadeau, Brianne

Perdomo, Lillian

Pierce, Elizabeth

Seats, Peggy

Shin, Laura

Smalls, Betty

White, Eugenia

Williams, Lateefah

Wilson, Niketris

District 2 Male Candidates

Allen, Hugh

Brannum, Robert

Bubar, James

Davis, Regina

Donaldson, David

Edwards, Ronnie

Garcia, Franklin

Griffin, Corey

Isaac, Sr., Donald

Johnson, Villareal “VJ”

Lepham, Nicholas

Lewis, Tony

Long, Mark

Mandel, Jon

Padro, Alexander

Panetta, Mike

Skillman, Philip

Thomas, Maceo

Thomas, Timothy

Thomas, William

Thompson, Juan

Washington, Sterling

District 2 Female Candidates

Beninda, Alexandra

Brown, Sylvia

Corrales, Maria

Davis, Regina

Davis, Veronica

Doggett, Enid

Dubale, Aadit

Esparza, Irma

Fearer, Jaime

Harris, Janette Hoston

Hazel, Janis

Lara, Julia

Loikow, Ann

Marshall, Ruth

Martinez, Silvia

Mobley, Jeanette

Patterson-Strachan, Shaunda

Reed, Denise

Robinson, Sharon

Schlatter, Stephanie

Shaw, Dinah

Smith, Shirley Rivens

Terrell, Mary

Thomas, Hazel Bland

Thomas, Romaine

Warnke, Christine

0 Comments For This Article


I generally agree with your article, which is factually accurate so far as I can tell, with one minor exception: District 1 voters will be able to vote for 4 males and 4 females, while District 2 will vote for 3 males and 4 females, for a total of 15, not 14. The discrepancy is due to the fact that the 4th highest vote-getting District 1 female will be selected as the alternate. At the Convention there is precious little difference between a delegate and an alternate.

The problem I have is with your strategy for defeating Barry. He will have a significant core of Ward 8 loyalists arriving on buses to vote for him and his joint slate with Jack Evans. Do not underestimate the number of votes he will get. If voters follow your advice, they are likely to split their votes significantly, thereby seriously risking a Barry win. And remember, he does not have to be the top vote-getter. Just one of the top four males in District 1.

So what to do. My advice is for people to vote for the strongest alternative slate, which I believe is the 51st State for Obama slate. It has not only strong candidates and excellent diversity, but its 15 candidates are pledged to vote for each other and to get their pledged voters to support the entire slate. Admittedly it does not have incumbent politicians or veteran members of the State Committee. But this is one reason it should be popular. Its grssroots leaders and activists are progressives who support change and represent a new image and reality for DC politics. I think a lot of people are not only turned off that Barry (and Evans) are even runniing against their own constituents, but are eager to have the chance to vote for something different to represent us.

John Capozzi

The "51st State for Obama" is the ony real choice here! Please come and vote, a few hund votes will win this election.


Greatest...City Paper...cover...ever.


As Evans recently tweeted, he runs against a constituent every 4 years, so that argument is tenuous at best. What's the big deal? Anybody can run and anybody can win.

Mike Panetta

I'm running to be a delegate too. I did a lot in Denver to promote Statehood - and I'd like to be a delegate this time around. I have a pretty good track record on these issues and if you live in Wards 3, 4, 5, or 7 I'd be grateful for a vote on Saturday. Thanks - Mike Panetta (


Chuck Thies accomplished what none of Marion Barry's critics have done in more than decade: Barry got caught off guard and then looked like a fool.