April’s D.C. mayoral primary will be mostly about Democrats, but non-Democrats in D.C. will be represented too.
Both the Republican and Libertarian parties now have mayoral candidates to call their own: yesterday Bruce Majors declared his run on the Libertarian ticket, while last week James Caviness announced he would carry the GOP mantle in the April 1 primary.
Majors, a 55-year-old a real estate agent and author who lives in Ward 2, is largely responsible for the Libertarian Party having access to the primary — a privilege only granted to political parties that pass a certain threshold of votes in a general election. In November, 2012 Majors passed that threshold by attracting over 16,000 votes in his run for D.C. delegate to Congress.
He says the party hopes to use the 2014 election cycle to educate the public about libertarian solutions, grow the party's vote totals, run more candidates than the GOP or Statehood Green Party, and win an At-Large seat on the D.C. Council. He and other Libertarians point to Robert Sarvis' insurgent gubernatorial run in Virginia as proof that the party is growing in stature.
"There has to be some other party. I'm trying to put a chink in the edifice and give people a choice," he says, referring to the Democratic Party's overwhelming dominance in voter registration and overall election results. He argues that the "one-party state" breeds corruption.
Caviness, 68, is making his second run as a Republican — in 1998 he ran for mayor as a Republican, but didn't collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. The semi-retired taxicab driver and public access talk show host says he's running on a simple platform: keeping D.C. from disaster.
"Basically, I'm trying to get the city back on track. We're headed for disaster if we don't get things like school reform turned around," he says.
He also says he will run on stopping what he calls "sports-corporate welfare," and would oppose any taxpayer funds for any future sports stadiums. "No soccer stadium, no potential football stadium, no bidding or spending money on the 2024 Olympics," he says. "If they want to build a stadium with their own money, I don't care. No taxpayer money."
While Democratic candidates have to collect 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot for the April primary, the bar is lower for the smaller Libertarian and Republican parties: 2 and 273 signatures, respectively, from registered members of the parties. If Majors and Caviness appear on the ballot and avoid any competition, they'll go head to head with the Democratic victor and any independent candidates in November's general election.
Majors says that Libertarian Party is planning on running candidates for Council seats, while Republicans will be competing for an At-Large seat and challenging D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
The Statehood Green Party briefly had a mayoral contender, but he withdrew from consideration this week.