Bill de Blasio‘s rise to the top of the New York City Democratic mayoral field was built upon an afro. A TV ad featuring the candidate’s son, Dante, propelled de Blasio to the nomination. Here in Washington, where Democrats will pick their nominee for mayor in four-and-a-half weeks, voters shouldn’t expect to see the same kind of campaign.
— Councilmember Muriel Bowser has emerged as Mayor Vincent Gray‘s chief challenger, Tuesday night’s WRC-TV/WAMU-FM/Washington Defender/Marist poll showed. Bowser, who was endorsed by the Washington Post, needs to coalesce voters who think the city is headed in the right direction but are wary of returning Gray to the Wilson Building after tales of impropriety on his 2010 campaign.
— Some of those voters currently prefer Councilmembers Jack Evans and Tommy Wells, who lag the two frontrunners. Narrowly, more voters say Bowser is their second choice than Evans or Gray. If Evans or Wells don’t gain traction, look for some anti-Gray voters to bleed into her corner.
— Don’t expect to see a big TV campaign, Wells’s new cable buy notwithstanding. In conversations with campaign managers for Gray and Bowser this week, the main tools discussed were direct mail, telephone and door-to-door campaigning. Gray’s first piece of direct mail will be hitting voters’ mailboxes soon, and the campaign says it’s already knocked on roughly 50,000 doors; Bowser’s camp described similar efforts.
One battleground ward on which the campaigns are likely to focus: Ward 4, which Bowser represents on the Council. Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff called it “the most demographically diverse” ward in the city and touted Bowser’s ability to appeal to voters across racial and gender lines. But Bowser can’t count on favorite daughter status to boost her in Ward 4: It was Adrian Fenty‘s geographic base, too, but Gray won it easily in 2010.
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The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.