Marion Barry's re-election bid to his D.C. Council seat from Ward 8 has attracted almost 150 campaign donations since Feb. 1, yet fewer than 10 of them came from regular folks in his ward.
Mr. Barry said Tuesday he is "on schedule" in his fundraising ahead of the April 3 primary elections in the District. Yet only 27 of the 144 recent contributions to his campaign emanate from Ward 8, and only seven of those are from individuals instead of businesses or corporations.
Mr. Barry said the issue can be explained by two factors — his constituents in Ward 8 do not have excess income and they don't think he needs any help, reiterating a "victim of his own success" line he has used in other recent interviews.
"They say, 'You got this, you don't need any money,' " Mr. Barry said.
His race against a quartet of challengers is one of four contested races for council seats — along with wards 4, 7 and an at-large seat. Candidates this week filed reports on contributions and expenditures with the Office of Campaign Finance, providing a window into which candidates are flush with enough cash to fund a final push in the remaining three weeks of the campaign.
Jacque Patterson, one of Mr. Barry's Democratic challengers, received just 9 of his 54 most recent contributions — or about 17 percent — from residents in Ward 8. He said there is a small business base in the ward and, like Mr. Barry, noted that not many people in the ward "have the means to give to a campaign."
Mr. Barry has out-raised and out-spent his four Democratic opponents, yet his $7,374 in cash on hand is less than Mr. Patterson's $9,515.
On Tuesday, Mr. Patterson said his funds will be used on get-out-the-vote measures among disappointed residents who feel Mr. Barry has not brought services to the ward during his tenure on the council.
"I know I can't change the minds of die-hard Marion Barry supporters — you're not going to," he said.
Darrell Gaston and Sandra Seegars, other challengers to Mr. Barry, have a much greater percentage of Ward 8-based donations, but the number of contributions is too small in each case to make a fair comparison to the incumbent or Mr. Patterson. A filing from the remaining challenger — Natalie Williams, a former employee of Mr. Barry — had not been posted by the campaign finance office as of late Tuesday.
Mr. Barry's campaign reported $59,002 in expenditures since Feb. 1, and Mr. Patterson's report says his campaign spent nothing, although Mr. Patterson said a pair of expenditures would be listed in an amended report.
"I'm on schedule in term of my fundraising," Mr. Barry said, noting he is "not bothered" by the amount that comes from outside the ward. "People say, 'Why would someone outside the ward donate to Marion Barry?' When Ward 8 does well, the city does well."
In Ward 7, incumbent council member Yvette M. Alexander raised $17,675 during the recent reporting period, spent $40,397 and has $18,558 in cash on hand.
Among her Democratic challengers, William "Rev. Bill" Bennett II raised $3,905, spent $5,445 and has $2,657 on hand; Tom Brown raised $12,499, spent $12,755 and has $1,381 on hand; and Kevin B. Chavous raised $2,755, spent $4,495 and has $8,779 on hand.
Council member Vincent B. Orange, at-large Democrat, has $114,388 on hand as he tries to surmount heated opposition from Sekou Biddle — the interim council member he unseated last April to gain the seat — and E. Gail Anderson Holness and Peter Shapiro, a former council member in Prince George's County who lives in Chevy Chase. Mr. Biddle has $41,630 remaining in his war chest, while Mr. Shapiro boasts $81,671 and Ms. Holness has $2,270.
Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, has demonstrated serious fundraising capabilities as she hopes to fend off five Democratic challengers. She raised $30,962 and spent $25,830 since Feb. 1, and has a whopping $217,143 remaining in her campaign coffers.
Among her opponents, Max Skolnik reports $7,570 on hand; Renee Bowser reports $3,777; Judi Jones has $136; Baruti Jahi has a little more than $90; and Calvin Gurley reports zero cash on hand.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.