DC Democratic Congressional District Conventions
University of the District of Columbia Physical Activities Center
March 6, 2004 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Candidates for delegate and their supporters look to the entrance door in hopes of presenting  flyers to arriving voters.

The February 14, 2004 DC Presidential Preference Caucuses resulted in the following allocation of the District's 10 district-level delegates:

CD 1 (Wards 1, 2, 6 and 8)
Kerry:  Male - 1     Female - 2     Alternates - 1 Male
Dean:  Male - 1     Female - 1     Alternates - 0
Sharpton:  Male - 0     Female - 0    Alternates - 0

CD 2 (Wards 3, 4, 5 and 7)
Kerry:  Male - 2     Female - 1     Alternates - 1 Male, 1 Female
Dean:  Male - 0     Female - 0     Alternates - 0
Sharpton:  Male -1     Female - 1    Alternates - 0

A Moderately Hectic Scene
On March 6, 2004 in the University of the District of Columbia's Physical Activities Center, DC Democratic voters chose 10 individuals to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Boston from among dozens of candidates for delegate hoping to make the trip this summer.  Voters arriving at the gym were greeted by many of these delegate candidates and their supporters who had positioned themselves on the walkway outside the building, in the doorway, and in the entry area and in the gym as they sought to hand out their flyers and leaflets.

Once voters passed through the gauntlet and made it inside the gym, they signed in and proceeded to one of the four caucus sites (Kerry CD1 and CD2, Dean CD1 and Sharpton CD2) where they received and cast their ballots.

Delegate candidates were also given the opportunity to address the entire room for one minute, although voters didn't seem to be paying too much attention.  In their remarks the would-be delegates most frequently touched on the efforts they had made on behalf of their candidate and on the fight for DC voting rights.  "We deserve democracy in DC," stated Peter Choharis, seeking to be a Kerry delegate from the 1st Congressional District.  Choharis, who by day is a senior litigator at Piper Rudnick LLP, noted that he is involved in three policy groups for the Kerry campaign, that he volunteered in Iowa for four days before the caucuses, and that he has helped to raise money for the campaign in low dollar events.  Choharis was among 36 men and 20 women competing for one Kerry male delegate position and one alternate position and one Kerry female delegate position.

Over by the Kerry CD2 caucus, Cathleen Harrington, running in tandem with Keith Washington to be Kerry delegates, urged "anyone who's in CD 2 vote for me because I brought donuts."  Standing by five or six big boxes containing 250 donuts, Harrington explained, "I'm not buying votes.  I'm giving donuts out of the goodness of my heart."  Asked how she had settled on donuts or if she had considered bringing another food item, she revealed a small bag of Hershey®'s Kisses®.  Harrington, who works as senior legislative assistant to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), ran to be a delegate in 2000 and lost by four votes.  This time she was one of 22 women vying for one Kerry female delegate position and one alternate position from the 2nd District.  The men's field was even more crowded, with 25 men competing for two delegate positions and one alternate position.

On the Dean side the choices were considerably more clear cut, as there were only two delegate positions, one male and one female, from the 1st District.  DC for Dean, the grassroots effort that worked for many months on behalf of Dean's candidacy, united behind two of their activists, Charles Allen and Kathie Boettrich.  City Councilman Jack Evans also made a pitch to be a delegate, arguing that he could have an effect and "make the Howard Dean voice known."  Evans, who attended the 1992, 1996 and 2000 conventions, authored the legislation that created DC's non-binding primary and served as co-chair for Dean's DC efforts.  All told eight women and 14 men were on the ballot to be Dean delegates, but several threw their support to Boettrich and Allen.

In the Sharpton corner, the situation was much quieter; only five men and one woman competed for one male and one female delegate position.

Voting proceeded from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Over 1,100 votes were cast; results were tallied directly afterwards:

Congressional District One - Ward 1, 2, 6 and 8
Kerry: Male-1: Andy Litsky
Females-2: Betty Smalls; Linda Lingle
Alternate-1: John Morton (27) or Peter Choharis (26)-TBD
Dean:  Male-1: Charles Allen
Female-1: Katherine Boettrich

Congressional District Two- Wards 3, 4, 5 and 7
Kerry: Males-2: James Bubar; Keith Washington
Female-1: Claire Lucas
Alternates-2: Male-1: Kurt Vorndran; Female-1: Cathleen Harrington
Sharpton:  Male-1: Robert "Bob" King
Female-1: Desa Ruffin

This meeting drew other activists as well.  The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club and backers of a smokefree workplace initiative which will appear on DC's November ballot had tables with their material in the gym.  The newly formed Committee to ReDefeat the President, which is seeking to register one million new Democratic voters in key battleground states, had a table in the entry.  Outside the building, a candidate for city council passed out brochures, and two people working on the effort to recall Mayor Anthony Williams gathered signatures on petitions.

Four at-large delegates and two pledged party leaders and elected officials (PLEOs) still must be selected.  Based on the results of the February 14 caucuses, four of these delegate positions are allocated to Kerry and one each to Dean and Sharpton; the individuals will be selected at the State Committee meeting on April 29, 2004.  Rounding out the DC delegation of 38 delegates and 4 alternates are 20 unpledged "superdelegates" including 16 members of the DNC, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Shadow Senator Paul Strauss, Shadow Representative Ray Browne, and Mayor Anthony Williams.  (Norton, Williams and Strauss all spoke here today).  Less than five months from now in Boston the DC delegation will seek to draw national attention to the issue of DC voting rights at the Democratic National Convention.  DC Democratic State Committee chair A. Scott Bolden said $80,000-$100,000 is budgeted for the convention, and plans are underway for a tea party and other activities. ema posted March 6, 2004

1...  Caucuses.
2...  Kerry delegate candidates: Betty Smalls (CD1), Peter Choharis (CD1), Cathleen Harrington (CD2), Al Bilik (CD2).
3...  Dean delegate candidates: Charles Allen and Kathie Boettrich, Lawrence Guyot, Jr., Nina Caron.
4...  Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
5...  Mayor Anthony Williams.
6...  Counting the ballots.

Copyright © 2004  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.