- The Washington Times - Monday, August 6, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Republican Ronald C. Moten is pumping up the volume on his race for the Ward 7 D.C. Council seat.

The longtime community activist is running an all-uphill race to unseat D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander this fall, so he soon will announce that veteran campaign strategist Vicky Wilcher will be joining Team Moten.

Ms. Wilcher, formerly the head of the D.C. Republican Party, recently was involved with Democratic campaigns, the most recent being two council races. She also supported Vincent C. Gray in his successful mayoral run in 2010.

Ms. Wilcher, who is well-respected in Washington political circles and now lives in West Virginia, served a year’s probation for accidentally taking a weapon into a government building. She was also involved in an unsuccessful effort to bring slot-machine-style gambling to the District in 2004.

Mr. Moten, who switched from Democrat to Republican in 2011, is slated to kick off his fundraising campaign on Wednesday at the Highlands Cafe and Grill on 14th Street in Northwest.

He certainly will need all the financial help he can get trying to beat a Democratic incumbent in this Democratic stronghold, and Mr. Moten said he is seeking “any donation from $1 to $500.”

Mr. Moten, who co-founded the Peaceoholics anti-crime group, handily won his primary run with nearly 57 percent of the vote in April — but that was with only 68 votes. Convincing Ward 7 Democrats to turn over the reins is another matter.

Ms. Alexander won her first full term on the council in 2008 after winning a special election to fill the seat of her political mentor, now-Mayor Gray, in 2007. In April, she defeated five Democratic challengers with high-name recognition, including a school board member.

Mr. Moten, a self-proclaimed antagonist of Mr. Gray, has said one of his strategies is to pull the rug from under Ms. Alexander at a live debate, which has not been scheduled.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.