The Post and the City Paper have the story -- Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle's campaign has chosen to challenge signatures on the nominating petitions submitted by Jacque Patterson, Bryan Weaver and Patrick Mara. A separate challenge to Mara was filed by a supporter of Josh Lopez, while a possible challenge of Vincent Orange's nominating petitions by Biddle was pulled back at the last minute.
Weaver and Patterson are most at risk -- each campaign submitted between 3,400 and 3,600 signatures, leaving them little wiggle room should some of the challenges succeed. (A total of 3,000 valid signatures is needed to get on the April 26 ballot.) Mara should be fine; he submitted around 6,000 signatures, begging the question as to why his petitions were even challenged. Arkan Haile, Dorothy Douglas, Alan Page, Tom Brown, Lopez, Orange, and Biddle emerged from the 10-day challenge period unscathed and will appear on the ballot.
There was some debate as to the way and wisdom of Biddle's challenges. On the one hand, he looks like a bit of a bully for challenging Weaver, Patterson and Mara -- especially since he raised about $30,000 more than all three combined through January 31. Moreover, that it was his campaign treasurer that did the challenging makes it impossible for Biddle to maintain at least some distance and plausible deniability about the decision. On the other hand, this is politics, and things are bound to get ugly. Additionally, if a candidate doesn't have the signatures, well, then they shouldn't be on the ballot, now should they?
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has until March 15 to issue final rulings on challenges. The candidates then have until March 18 to file any appeals with the D.C. courts.
After the jump, a Twitter timeline of the announcement and some of the ensuing debate.
Update: Keith Ivey accurately points out in the comments: "You skipped the second challenge to Patterson, from Alonzo Edmondson (who successful challenged Calvin Gurley’s ballot petitions for last year’s Democratic primary). Not sure which candidate Edmondson might be allied with." That means that both Mara and Patterson face two challenges.
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