Patrick Mara was supposed to have met with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics this morning to review the status of two challenges against him, but his hearing was abruptly pushed to next Tuesday. (Update, 5:30 p.m.: BOEE just announced that the hearing will take place on Monday at 1:30 p.m., not Tuesday.)
Mara wasn't only peeved that the hearing didn't happen -- he wasn't given any advance notice, he said, and neither was his legal team or campaign manager -- but also that no one from Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle's campaign bothered to show up. On February 28 Biddle challenged 3,600 of Mara's 5,629 signatures, leaving Mara with 3,182 valid signatures -- 182 more than he needs to get on the ballot. (A seperate challenge filed by Lawrence Guyot only targeted 1,047 signatures.)
To Mara, the Biddle campaign's absence was evidence that the challenge was merely a ploy to "tie up the resources of BOEE...as well as campaign resources." Mara said he had 40 people reviewing signatures, and had found more valid signatures than BOEE claimed in its pre-conference hearing earlier this week.
Even when Mara does go before the board on Tuesday, the hearing will be somewhat pointless. Guyot didn't challenge enough signatures to get Mara off the ballot, and even with Biddle's succesful challenges upheld, the sole Republican in the race will remain on the ballot. Additionally, Tuesday is the deadline for the board to issue any rulings on challenges, so whoever presides will have to make a decision quickly.
Bryan Weaver is next to face the board, with a hearing scheduled for noon on Monday. Provided he turns in 52 change-of-address forms by today, he should be fine to remain on the ballot.