Moten Talks At-Large Race, GOP Changes
Ronald Moten, a co-founder of the anti-gang, anti-violence organization, Peaceoholics, said that he's thinking about running in the April 23 special election for the at-large seat on the D.C. Council and that the District's GOP is headed in the right direction.
"A number of people have approached me about running in the special election," said Moten, 43. "I will make a final decision in a few weeks on whether I will do it or not."
Moten, a recently minted Republican, ran against D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) in the Nov. 6 general election. The campaign was heated at times, with Alexander refusing at one point to debate Moten, saying that she did not have to "debate a Republican" in the heavily Democratic ward.
Alexander, 51, won the contest as expected but Moten surprised political observers with his 12 percent showing in a ward that has voted for Democratic incumbents by as much as 97 percent. The impressive showing has fueled talk that Moten, already known citywide, may jump into the April 23 special election which is non-partisan.
Moten said that he's weighing his options.
"I am looking at should I get behind a candidate or work to become a kingmaker," said Moten, who lives in Southeast. "If I do run, I will prove that a civil rights Republican can win in this city."
Moten is pondering his political future at a time when the D.C. GOP is undergoing a major change at the top. Nicholas Jeffress, the executive director of the District of Columbia Republican Committee, is planning to leave his post in January 2013.
Moten said that Jeffress has done a lot to advance the party in the District.
"Like any other organization, you have new people come in and old people go out," he said. "The party has grown recently and it will grow some more. I will continue to work to make the party an important player in this city."
Bonds Will Stay at Helm of D.C. Democrats
D.C. Council member Anita Bonds will continue to serve as the leader of the District's Democratic Party despite her recent selection to the legislative body, said a high-ranking D.C. Democrat.
"Council member Bonds is set to stay as chair of the D.C. Democratic State Committee," said James Berry, the vice chairman of the committee. "I have not talked with her about stepping down and I don't think she is going to even though she is on the council."
Berry, a resident of Northeast, said that it's not unusual for the leading DemocraticParty official on the state level to be an elected official and it is valid according to the rules of the Democratic National Committee, Berry said.
Virginia recently elected Del. Charniele Herring of Alexandria as its state chair but Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis of Prince George's County has never held an elected position. The Democratic National Committee is led by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is recognized as the leading District Democrat in national circles but organizationally, when it comes to dealing with the Democratic National Committee, it's Bonds who calls the shots for the District.
Berry would not speculate on who would replace Bonds if she wins the April 23 special election for the at-large seat that she temporarily occupies. Even then, she could stay on, as party rules permit.
"She will stay the chair until the next election," he said.