- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

D.C. Council member Harold Brazil’s campaign has begun to assail the political newcomer seeking his at-large council seat, saying Kwame Brown offers only “cookie-cutter answers, fuzzy policy positions, cliched responses and empty negative attacks.”

The Brazil campaign last week sent a mass mailing criticizing Mr. Brown, 33, for having never voted in a D.C. election, a fact first noted this spring in the Mail, an online publication by the D.C. government watchdog group DCWatch.

The flurry of attacks add to speculation that after 13 years in office, Mr. Brazil might be in peril in the Sept. 14 primary.

“Brazil is not just dismissing Brown offhand. He is raising the kinds of attacks that an incumbent would do against a serious opponent,” said Gary Imhoff, editor and publisher of the Mail.

Mr. Brazil has not bothered to attack the other Democratic challenger, Sam Brooks, a lifelong D.C. resident and political activist for Democratic Party candidates.

Typical of a challenger facing a longtime incumbent, Mr. Brown also has struck out at Mr. Brazil. Not only criticizing Mr. Brazil’s record, he also charges that the council member is alienated from ordinary residents, too cozy with business interests and absent from too many council votes.

He said Mr. Brazil’s attacks are evidence of vulnerability.

“After 13 years on the council, you can’t talk about improved schools, affordable housing, quality of life, public safety. What [Mr. Brazil] starts to do now is he attacks,” Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brazil’s camp insists that they are confident they can beat Mr. Brown, who grew up in the District and Virginia, worked as an adviser in the Commerce Department and currently serves as president of the Maryland/District of Columbia Minority Supplier Development Council.

Brazil campaign spokesman Darden Copeland said they refrained from personal attacks on Mr. Brown and have only pointed out his apparent pandering to voters, coming out both for and against homosexual “marriage” and high-density development.

“Anytime someone raises $100,000 to run against you, we are going to take them seriously,” Mr. Copeland said.

Mr. Brazil has raised $458,836 while Mr. Brown has collected $104,356, according to the Aug. 10 disclosures filed with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.

Mr. Brooks’ disclosure for August was not available. He had reported receiving $35,592 as of June 10.

The Brazil assault on Mr. Brown came after a series of campaign setbacks.

The local AFL-CIO endorsed Mr. Brown after more than a decade of support for Mr. Brazil. The challenger also won a straw poll in Ward 4 and picked up endorsements from Democrats in Ward 1 and Ward 5.

Mr. Brown also garnered enough support to prevent Mr. Brazil from winning the endorsement by Democrats in Ward 6, where the incumbent lives.

The endorsements for Mr. Brown capped an already tumultuous campaign season for Mr. Brazil.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, had geared up to challenge Mr. Brazil but later abandoned the plan.

In June, The Washington Post reported that Mr. Brazil, who runs a personal-injury law firm, had used members of his city staff to do work for his private practice. The Post also reported that Mr. Brazil’s advisers sought a political appointment in 2001 for a woman who had been working on Mr. Brazil’s staff and with whom he was having a relationship.


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