D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) delivered 7,000 petition signatures to the city’s Board of Elections office on Tuesday to place his name on the ballot in November as an independent candidate for mayor.
Just 3,000 valid signatures are needed to be placed on the ballot.
With a pack of news reporters accompanying him, Catania said he is confident he will win the race and become the first non-Democrat to be elected mayor since the start of the city’s modern era home rule government in 1974.
Catania, who, if elected, would also become the city’s first out gay mayor, said his record on LGBT issues is by far the strongest compared to his two main rivals – Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), the Democratic nominee; and former Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At-Large), who changed her party registration to independent to run for mayor this year.
Schwartz enjoyed strong support from the LGBT community as a Council member. She said she would deliver her petition signatures to the Board of Election office on Wednesday, the deadline for filing ballot petitions for the November election.
With Schwartz and Bowser pushing hard to line up support in the LGBT community, the Blade asked Catania how he thinks he will fare with the LGBT vote.
“I’ve always asked people to vote for me based on whether or not I’ve supported the community, not because I’m a member of the community – the LGBT community,” he said. “And there’s really only one person in this race who has a solid record on LGBT issues – I’m the one.”
He noted that he was the author of the city’s marriage equality legislation in 2009 and played a key role in helping shape the city’s response to HIV/AIDS in his role as chair of the Council’s Committee on Health up until two years ago. He was the author and lead sponsor last year of a bill to make it easier for transgender people to change their birth certificates, Catania said at the election board office.
“There is no question that I have the stronger record,” he said. “And what people have to decide is do they want someone who will sit on the back of a bench and vote a particular way or do they want a champion? And I have no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of the LGBTQ community will be supporting me.”
Bowser and Schwartz have each pointed to their own record of support on LGBT issues, saying they too would be a champion for the LGBT community if elected mayor.
Also running for mayor this year is gay Libertarian candidate Bruce Majors, who secured placement on the ballot by winning his party’s primary in an unopposed race in April. Statehood Green Party candidate Faith, who uses only that name, also won her party’s primary on April 1.
In addition, five other lesser known independent candidates have taken out petitions to run for mayor. Political observers say it is uncertain how many of them will obtain the required 3,000 petition signatures to secure placement on the ballot.