Tricia Duncan Drops 3 DC Ward Council Race, Endorses Opponent

Placeholder while loading article actions

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 evening. 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.

Hours after Duncan’s withdrawal, Cheh said she would now vote for Frumin “and would encourage anyone who has not yet voted to do so”.

In a statement, Cheh said of Frumin: “He is deeply rooted in the community and has worked, often quietly and without fanfare, on many [Ward 3] issues such as affordable housing and school reform. He will reflect the values ​​of Ward 3 and serve honorably on the Council. Attorney General Karl A. Racine also endorsed Frumin earlier Monday.

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.

Any votes already cast for Duncan will be counted, and since her name will remain on the ballot, she could still get more votes even after she suspends her campaign.

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.

Comments are closed.