Bryan Weaver's wife, campaign chairperson, campaign manager, and campaign treasurer are amongst the 1,417 signatures that Interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle is challenging on nominating petitions turned in by Weaver's campaign, according to a statement released this morning:
The Weaver Campaign has found that most of the signatures challenged by Sekou Biddle’s campaign are in fact valid.
“We’ve begun our own review of the 1,417 signatures challenged,” Weaver said. “Not only have we found hundreds of signatures to be valid, we’ve also noticed that some of the signatures belong to easily identifiable D.C. voters.”
Some of those voters include Weaver’s wife, Maria T. Cardona, and Weaver’s campaign chairperson, campaign manager, and campaign treasurer. Other challenges include former Councilmember Kathy Patterson, Director of the Office of ANCs Gottlieb Simon, several sitting ANC Commissioners, other qualified candidates for the at-large race, the Chair of D.C. for Democracy, and the last three female spokespersons of the Democratic National Committee.
“If I didn’t take every part of the process very seriously, this would be pretty funny,” Weaver added. “In any case, we remain confident in the work of our volunteers and look forward to moving ahead with the campaign.”
Reports of other odd challenges are surfacing this morning. Jacque Patterson claims that the Biddle campaign included the names of former mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty in its challenge of 1,884 of his signatures:
Yesterday my campaign began to review the petition challenge filed by the Sekou Biddle campaign. Astonishingly, Mr. Biddle is challenging the petition signatures of former Mayors William and Fenty. Also challenged are the signatures of Che Brown, the brother of DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown, who has endorsed Biddle and two Biddle campaign staffers Dennis Jaffe and John Capozzi.
Fellow candidates Bryan Weaver, Josh Lopez and Patrick Mara are among those challenged, as are prominent Ward 8 community leaders, Wanda Lockridge, Philip Pannell, Sheila Bunn, James Bunn, Gabe Fraser and Denise Rolark Barnes.
The list of signatures challenged includes a who's who of dedicated District residents who have served our city selflessly in positions as mayor, councilmembers, ANCs, and community activists. While any citizen has the right to challenge nominating petitions, what does the Biddle campaign seek to gain by questioning the integrity of well-known District leaders?
Dave Stroup, who collected signatures for the Weaver campaign, found out that he was challenged as a signatory on Patterson's nominating petitions but not as a circulator of Weaver's. Paul Craney, the Executive Director of the D.C. GOP, is being challenged as a circulator of petitions for Patrick Mara by Lawrence Guyot, a supporter of Josh Lopez.
These could be isolated incidents, of course -- in challenging thousands of signatures, perfectly legitimate signers and petition circulators are bound to get mistakenly caught up. We'll have more on the challenges -- plus the documents themselves -- later this morning.