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Brown notches endorsements despite recent troubles

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown's campaign for re-election announced endorsements from nine unions Tuesday despite troubling headlines that have ranged from missing campaign funds to a close call on petitions he submitted to get on the ballot.

Mr. Brown's woes were only exacerbated over the weekend by a story in The Washington Post on his poor driving record.

And yet Mr. Brown, at-large independent, on Tuesday pointed to support from organizations such as the Washington Teachers Union, the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO and two Service Employees International Union locals "as a testament to my strong record on the council."

Mr. Brown is trying to retain one of two at-large seats on the council up for grabs Nov. 6. Fellow incumbent Vincent B. Orange is the Democratic nominee and widely believed to be in the best position to retain his seat. That leaves Mr. Brown defending his seat against energetic opponents in independent David Grosso and Republican nominee Mary Brooks Beatty.

D.C. Statehood Green candidate Ann Wilcox and independents A.J. Cooper and Leon J. Swain Jr. are also vying for the seats.

In a much-needed boost for his bid, Mr. Brown announced support that also came from the Hotel Association of Washington DC, the District of Columbia Nurses Association, Unite Here Local 25, the DC Hispanic Contractors Association and the Laborers' Union Local 657.

The incumbent has been deflecting negative reports about his campaign as a distraction from the real issues, such as job creation and housing. He criticized a challenge to his ballot-access petition from an opponent, Mr. Grosso, as playing "in the sandbox."

Mr. Brown recently revealed that nearly $114,000 went missing from his campaign before he discovered "unauthorized disbursements" in June. He fired his campaign treasurer, Hakim J. Sutton, and reported the issue to the police.

Mr. Sutton's attorney has criticized Mr. Brown and accused him of mismanaging the campaign, but Mr. Brown has said he is a victim of theft and should be treated as such. He said the fact he blew the whistle on his own campaign is a sign of his dedication to ethics.

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