Carolyn Steptoe speaks on issues affecting Ward 5 and the city at large.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

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After Primary: "losing candidate..." "... said he entered race simply because he didn't want Steptoe to win"

Statehood Greens Hope To Fill Void
By Elissa Silverman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006; DZ03
They make up just 1.3 percent of registered voters in the District, so D.C. Statehood Green Party members say they know they face an uphill battle in winning local elections.
But that hasn't stopped them from entering five candidates on this year's general election ballot and pushing hard for issues at the core of the party's platform, such as the city's battle to obtain voting rights in Congress.
"I think that's where we really stand out," said Ann C. Wilcox, who is running as the party's at-large council nominee. "The Democrats have really abandoned the issue.
"In a city where almost three-quarters of registered voters are Democrats, the Statehood Greens have a hard time setting themselves apart. The party was formed in 1999 when the Statehood Party, which was founded in 1971 by home-rule activist Julius Hobson Sr., merged with the local chapter of the Green Party.
Generally occupying political real estate to the left of center, Statehood Greens portray themselves as champions of working-class Washingtonians. Members of the party have been vocal opponents of public financing of the new ballpark for the Washington Nationals and frequently testify at hearings advocating for more affordable housing and health care for low-income residents -- issues that have resonated with voters this year.
But as hot as these issues have been this election season, the Statehood Green Party candidates haven't attracted much attention.
The primary contest for the Ward 5 seat on the D.C. Council exposed the party's organizational woes.
Philip Blair Jr., a longtime Statehood party member, lost the Statehood Green primary to Carolyn C. Steptoe. Blair said he entered the race simply because he didn't want Steptoe to win. The two Brookland residents have been on opposite sides of a neighborhood issue.
"I had never seen her active in the Statehood Green party before," Blair said. "She was obviously using us opportunistically."
Local election officials also haven't helped matters, Blair said.
According to Blair, 140 voters from the Statehood Green party showed up at the polls in Ward 5 but only 89 votes were counted. Steptoe received 40 votes, Blair got 33 votes and 16 names were written in.
Blair has questioned what happened to the 51 ballots unaccounted for in the official tally. He said he has found similar disparities between Republicans who showed up to the polls and the number of party ballots cast.
Elections board officials said they were investigating, but they speculate that some Statehood Greens and Republicans might have gotten Democratic ballots.In addition to Steptoe, the party has four nominees on the general election ballot: Wilcox, shadow senator nominee Joyce Robinson-Paul, shadow representative Keith R. Ware and mayoral nominee Chris Otten. ..."

Mystery in Green party votes solved
Michael Neibauer, The Examiner
Oct 25, 2006 2:00 AM (10 days ago)
Current rank: Not ranked
WASHINGTON - Dozens of “missing” votes from the Ward 5 Statehood Green primary are likely to be found in illegitimate Democratic Party ballots, according to the Board of Elections and Ethics.
Philip Blair, the losing Statehood Green candidate in the Ward 5 D.C. Council primary, is too late to challenge what he claims were voting irregularities at the polls, but the elections board is moving forward with an investigation nevertheless.

The board certified only 89 votes in the Party’s Sept. 12 Ward 5 primary. Blair lost to Carolyn Steptoe 40-33, with the remaining 16 writing in another name.
But Blair claims 140 Statehood Green Party voters actually signed in at the polls, leaving 51 ballots unaccounted for. And it is “sheer rotten incompetence” that the board failed to properly certify every vote, he said. ...." Examiner