Tricia Duncan Drops 3 DC Ward Council Race, Endorses Opponent

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Tricia Duncan, the DC Council nominee whom outgoing Ward 3 council member Mary M. Cheh had backed to succeed her, announced Monday night that she is dropping out of the race, with voting already underway and eight days to go. before polling day.

In a letter, Duncan said she would instead back Matthew Frumin for the seat – and spoke out strongly against one of the other leading contenders, former council staffer Eric Goulet.

“I think two people have a real chance of winning. The candidate backed by a million dollars of outside money, special interest and Matt. This is a clear decision for me: I want Matt to win,” Duncan wrote, alluding to spending by the pro-Democratic charter school advocacy group for DC education reform and another pro-charter group, DC Charter School Action. No other organization has spent nearly as much this election cycle, and both support Goulet as well as incumbent Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Council Speaker Phil Mendelson (D).

Goulet did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night. His main campaign goal has been a promise to dramatically increase the size of the city’s police force, but he’s also been backed by educational organizations who share his support for charter schools and the mayor’s strong control over the system. public school.

Duncan urged the other candidates in what was a nine-person Democratic primary — which includes the ward’s Democratic party chairman, several current and former ward advisory commissioners and a high school student — to also consider dropping out. She said she came to the conclusion she could not win after Friday’s campaign finance reports showed the extent of spending by outside groups to support Goulet, including direct mail and the online advertising purchased by these groups. “I don’t want a Ward 3 council seat to be bought. If there are other candidates who share these same values, it’s time to face reality,” she said in an interview.

Ballots were mailed to every DC voter in May and in-person early voting opened Friday. As of Sunday, at least 2,325 people had already voted at neighborhood drop boxes and polling places, along with countless more than 16,000 DC residents who returned their ballots by mail.

In a brief interview Monday night, Cheh said she hasn’t voted yet and hasn’t come to an immediate conclusion on who she will support with Duncan out of the race.

A stay-at-home mom and president of the Palisades Community Association before her campaign, Duncan launched her candidacy with strong fundraising days after Cheh announced in February that she would not seek another term. As of Friday, Duncan had raised more than any candidate except Frumin and former DC Library board member Monte Monash. She tried to establish intermediate positions on several issues such as policing and housing development.

In his analysis, Frumin has the best chance other than Goulet. “Matt crushed me on fundraising. He got endorsements from groups that actually give you volunteers,” Duncan said. “I obviously thought I would have been a great adviser. I embarked on this race to serve Ward 3 in the best possible way.

In a tweet, Frumin called Duncan’s stance “generous and brave.” Frumin has previously criticized DFER for its expenses in the Ward 3 race, but DFER DC’s state director said the group’s expenses reflect the wishes of many parents in the district.

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