D.C. Councilman Jim Graham gets challenged for seat from former ANC

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

A former advisory neighborhood commissioner said Wednesday that she will seek Ward 1's seat on the D.C. Council, potentially setting up a primary challenge for incumbent Jim Graham, an influential lawmaker who has drawn criticism for his conduct as a member of Metro's board.

"I have a record of fighting for Ward 1 residents, helping them get the services they need and making sure their problems are being addressed by our government," Brianne Nadeau said in a statement. "I am running for council to address important issues that impact the lives of residents day-to-day."

Nadeau supporters quickly took aim at what they said were ethical shortcomings from Graham, whose is serving his fourth term as a city lawmaker and is up for reelection in 2014.

"As the lottery contract, [Metro] and taxi cab scandals show, our current councilmember is more interested in serving himself and making insider deals than focusing on the business of Ward 1," said William Jordan, a Columbia Heights resident who is backing Nadeau's insurgent bid. "It is clear that Ward 1 needs new leadership on the council."

Mara running again
Patrick Mara, one of the District's most prolific Republican voices, is running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.
Mara, who sought a council seat in 2008 and lost, announced on NewsChannel 8 that he will run in the April 23 special election to permanently fill Council Chairman Phil Mendelson's old seat.
Mara, a member of the D.C. State Board of Education, said he would focus on improving the city's schools if he wins.
He enters a race that is crowded: At-large Councilwoman Anita Bonds, who won the interim appointment for the seat this week, has said she will run in the special election, and several other residents have indicated they will seek the job.

But Graham, who told The Washington Examiner that he will decide next fall whether to mount a re-election bid, dismissed the criticisms as unfounded.

"I have no ethical issues," Graham said Wednesday. "No one has suggested that I broke any laws or regulations... She has to have facts."

Graham acknowledged, however, that a report commissioned by Metro found that he had breached the transit agency's conduct policies.

"The one conflict that has been identified was the one between my work as a board member and my work as a council member," Graham said.

Graham has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but federal authorities are investigating the bidding process for the $38 million contract to operate the District's lottery.

Last week, a draft report by a city investigator surfaced that said Graham had taken "inappropriate actions," though those remarks were not included in the final report.

In the draft version, investigator Robert Andary described a meeting between Graham and Warren Williams Jr., a local businessman who was seeking the rights to the contract. Andary found that Graham offered to endorse Williams' bid if he abandoned his participation on another project, one that was linked to Metro.

Graham said that if he chooses to run for re-election, he will base his campaign on his record at the John A. Wilson Building.

"If I run, I'll run on my record of solid constituent services," said Graham, who also touted his legislative record.

Graham has fended off primary challenges in the past: In a three-way Democratic primary in 2010, Graham won 57 percent of the vote.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner