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D.C. Council Members Fights Voter Confusion Over Name

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By Patrick Madden

A case of mistaken identity is threatening to cost a D.C. Council Member his job.

At-large incumbent Phil Mendelson is trailing a relatively unknown opponent in the polls, and it seems some voters have confused the candidate with another popular politician who shares the same name.

Sitting at his office on the 4th floor of the Wilson Building, Phil Mendelson shows off the latest mailer he's about to send to voters.

This one is even more explicit.

In bright red, it screams "Voter Confusion!" It shows pictures of two men with the same name but very different portraits. Michael D. Brown on the left, is an unknown underfunded white candidate. And on the right, a picture of Michael A. Brown, a popular African-American council councilmember who's not on the ballot this year.

"As voters realize that they were misled into who Michael Brown is, people will vote for me as they did in 2006 overwhelmingly," says Mendelson.

Mendelson says he's preparing to launch a barrage of automated phone calls to voters as well.


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