- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mayoral endorsements and financial windfalls came hand in hand for two candidates running in April’s special election for vacant seats on the D.C. Council.

New campaign finance reports show Ward 4 candidate Brandon Todd and Ward 8 candidate LaRuby May have assumed the lead as the financial front-runners in their respective races. Both candidates have close ties to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and received her endorsement.

Mr. Todd, who is seeking the council seat Ms. Bowser left to become mayor, reported raising $231,541 in the filing period ending Jan. 31. He’s raised a total of $282,741 in the Ward 4 race — far outpacing the fundraising activities of any of the 14 candidates in the special election. The second highest campaign total in Ward 4 was the $25,910 raised by candidate Leon T. Andrews Jr.

Mr. Todd’s spokesman Everett Hamilton said the mayor’s endorsement was welcome praise but pointed to the candidate’s longtime commitment to Ward 4 as the reason he has garnered so much financial support.

“This is not just someone who was in obscurity that the mayor endorsed and was able to parlay that into an advantage,” Mr. Hamilton said. “This is clearly someone who was a known quantity to the ward.”

Mr. Todd served as Ms. Bowser’s constituent services director when she held the Ward 4 seat and in her mayoral bid, the 31-year-old worked as her finance director. He is also the current president of the Ward 4 Democrats.

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Ms. Bowser was a key figure at Mr. Todd’s most recent fundraising event held Thursday.

“Many thanks to my family, friends and supporters who braved the blistering cold to attend and especially, Muriel Bowser and Bill Lightfoot. This event wouldn’t have been a success without them,” read a message posted on Mr. Todd’s campaign Facebook page following the event.

Of the 14 candidates in the Ward 4 race, five raised less than $1,000 and two had not filed their reports as of Monday.

Bowser-backed Ms. May also far outpaced competitors in the crowded field to replace Marion Barry for the Ward 8 seat he held until his death in November, raking in $177,404 in campaign contributions. The next highest fundraising total reported Monday was the $51,691 raised by candidate Sheila Bunn, a deputy chief of staff under former mayor Vincent C. Gray.

Ms. May served as Ms. Bowser’s Ward 8 coordinator in last year’s mayoral campaign and Ms. Bowser attended a campaign fundraiser for the 39-year-old on Saturday.

“It didn’t hurt,” said Ms. May on the effect of the mayor’s endorsement on her campaign coffers. “The amount of money we were fortunate to raise won’t minimize how hard I have to work.”

A review of the campaign finance reports shows a slew of businesses and corporations that gave the maximum donation of $500 to Ms. May also donated maximum amounts to Mr. Todd. Both Mr. Hamilton and Ms. May said there was no coordination between the campaigns to solicit donations from the same companies.

“Any of my friends in Ward 4, I ask them to support Brandon. I think he will be a great council member,” Ms. May said. “But I barely have enough time in the day to coordinate my efforts in my team.”

Ms. May suspects her and Mr. Todd’s campaigns may have received donations from people impressed by both of their work on Ms. Bowser’s mayoral campaign.

“I think when people see people working hard they want to support that effort,” she said. “Brandon and I were working for the same team for a common goal.”

Sixteen candidates, including Barry’s son, Marion Christopher Barry, are seeking the Ward 8 seat. But Mr. Barry failed to file a campaign finance report, leaving his financial prowess unknown. Six other Ward 8 candidates also did not file campaign finance reports.

All those who failed to file reports or request an extension Monday will be referred to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance’s general counsel for a hearing, said spokesman Wesley Williams.

The special election is scheduled for April 28.



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