- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2006

Lobbyist Michael A. Brown yesterday dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for D.C. mayor and gave his support to D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp.

“I stand before you today to announce that I’m leaving the race for mayor. As many of you know, this has been a long, hard battle,” Mr. Brown said. “I’m announcing my support for Linda Cropp and asking my supporters to do the same.”

Coming less than a week before Tuesday’s primary, the move surprised campaign workers and political analysts. Last week, Mr. Brown said he would not leave the race before the primary.

Yesterday, he said he spoke to Mrs. Cropp Wednesday night and offered his support. He said he will campaign vigorously on her behalf.

“I will still continue to walk every day and every night and every second through Sept. 12, only now I’ll be saying the name ‘Linda Cropp’ for mayor,” he said. “We’re going to continue to run this race.”

Mrs. Cropp said she is happy to have Mr. Brown on board. “He worked extremely hard for those who had been forgotten, ” she said. “And I believe that when we join our campaigns together, they will complement each other.”

Mr. Brown’s name will appear on the ballot, which was printed several weeks ago.

Mr. Brown said he chose to endorse Mrs. Cropp, despite their disagreements on several issues, because she has more experience than the other candidates.

“We cannot watch a political novice, a man without the necessary courage or strength, attempt to steal this race from someone who has seen this city through its worst times,” Mr. Brown said, referring to the front-runner — council member Adrian M. Fenty of Ward 4.

“The District cannot afford a mayor who merely knocks on doors and asks for support,” said Mr. Brown, who has never held an elected office.

Others running for the Democratic mayoral nomination include former Verizon executive Marie C. Johns and council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. of Ward 5.

Mr. Brown and Mrs. Cropp differ on many key issues, including the building of a baseball stadium in Southeast and the organization of the fire department and emergency medical services (EMS).

Mr. Brown has said that, as mayor, he would halt construction of the stadium and instead refurbish RFK Stadium in Northeast. Mrs. Cropp was a major force in passing the legislation for the new stadium.

Mr. Brown also said that he would remove EMS from the control of the fire department; Mrs. Cropp has said they should remain together.

Mr. Brown said yesterday that the differences were not enough to stop his endorsement.

“What happens in political campaigns is that people disagree … but the bottom line is that I’m going to be sitting there pushing the agenda I campaigned on,” he said. “Clearly, I’m going to be talking to her about my baseball plan.”

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