This morning I quickly spoke with Tom Lindenfeld, a campaign strategist for Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle, hoping to pick his brain about the challenges filed against Bryan Weaver, Jacque Patterson and Patrick Mara on Monday.
Lindenfeld defended the campaign's decision to file the challenges, noting that in general, only 55 to 60 percent of all signatures on nominating petitions end up being valid. (Shadow Representative Mike Panetta, who has had to collect signatures for himself, tweeted as much on Monday.) Calling it a "basic numbers game," Lindenfeld said that most campaigns strive to turn in at least twice the required number of signatures to avoid being knocked off the ballot. (Biddle turned in 8,800.)
Speaking directly about Weaver, Lindenfeld simply said that the "chances that Weaver has 3,000 good ones [signatures] is not possible." As for Mara, the sole Republican in the race, Lindenfeld claimed that he used paid petition circulators, which he says don't often produce good results. Mara vehemently denied the allegation. (Update: The D.C. GOP says it paid a few people to collect signatures, but most of Mara's signatures came from volunteers.) Both Biddle's and Lawrence Guyot's challenge of Mara's petitions cite a number of circulators, which would disqualify every signature on the page they handled. (Each page contains 20 signatures.)
Lindenfeld also confirmed that the challenges were prepared by Ben Soto, a former campaign treasurer for Adrian Fenty and early Biddle supporter. Though Biddle campaign treasurer Bandele McQueen actually submitted the challenges to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, it's Soto that's doing the challenging.
- Biddle's challenge of Weaver
- Biddle's challenge of Patterson, Part 1; Part 2
- Biddle's challenge of Mara, Part 1; Part 2; Part 3
- Edmondson's challenge of Patterson
- Guyot's challenge of Mara, Part 1; Part 2; Part 3