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Carol Schwartz Launches Her Surprise Mayoral Campaign
The former DC Council member officially kicked off her long-shot campaign and denied accusations she’s a “spoiler” candidate. By Benjamin Freed
"I want to be mayor," Schwartz said after filing her candidacy. Photographs by Benjamin Freed.
Comments () | Published June 13, 2014

“Being out of political life five and a half years, people call me and say they miss me,” said former DC Council member Carol Schwartz, fresh from officially entering the mayoral race.

Schwartz, 70, out of local politics since January 2009, resurfaced Monday when she suddenly announced her intentions to wedge herself into the contest between Muriel Bowser and David Catania. Press and other politically interested people had gathered to learn why she had decided to make a late, long-shot bid.

Catania’s campaign has explained her unexpected candidacy as a spoiler. Schwartz, a former Republican like Catania, was at odds with him during her final years on the Council, and close to Bowser.

“Oh, please,” Schwartz told reporters Friday. “I think it’s petty and distracting.”

When pressed again, Schwartz said she has no comment on either of her opponents. She also said she still lives primarily in the District, though she did admit being out of office allows her to spend more time in her homes in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Florida.

As a candidate, Schwartz seems to still be fleshing out her positions after six years in the political wilderness. “I love seeing the boomtown,” she said about DC’s present economic growth. She also says she’d try to enhance the city’s “inclusionary zoning” rules, which require developers to reserve units in new developments for low- and moderate-income families. She also says she’d keep DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson in place—a position Bowser also staked out this week—but veers into her past advocacy for magnet schools when asked about the redrawn school boundaries published this week.

By running as an independent Schwartz is also giving herself an added burden of collecting 3,000 valid signatures from DC voters by August 6. She could have avoided the task if she had been the DC Republican Party’s mayoral nominee, as she was four times in the past. But she says she left the GOP last December.

“I’d been thinking about it the last several years, watching the party move further and further away,” Schwartz said. “When Eric Cantor is considered too liberal? That’s a statement in itself.”

The Carol Schwartz-mobile, double-parked.

 

After Schwartz finished taking questions, she said she was headed over to Anacostia to begin collecting signatures and hopped in her beige Jaguar sedan decked out with bright yellow “Carol Schwartz” signs. In previous campaigns, Schwartz rode around in a yellow Pontiac Firebird convertible with the top down because, she said today, “it lets people know I’m accessible.”

The Firebird may come out later this summer, but for today, Schwartz decided it would be more “mayoral” to go with the Jaguar.

“I decided today I’d be a little more reserved,” she said.

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  • Rich Peterson

    Carol is Back!

    Yes, we know her and Carol goes by, "Carol." In the biz, we call that, "Name Equity." And, it certainly helps with campaigns. Even if the contender has been running for well over one year, "Name Equity is Everything."

    Unless of course, you're one of the 75,000+ thirty-something's or younger who just came into the city.

    The corrupt practices of DC politics must come to an end.

    And, look at Carol's record of over 40 years. Not one scandal or hint of malfeasance has ever been associated with her campaigning, fundraising, governance and good standing in the city.

    Naysayers, gotta get her on something else. Why not go after the "Costume Jewelry." Blame her for making a "Fashion Statement." It has always served her and every other female well.

    There is a reason why Statehood has always been at issue. Look at the behavior of our citizens on these posts. Carol has always been on the front end of this fight and when Carol was a

    Republican running for Mayor in 2002, Carol may have just had a shot with our former leader, President George Bush.

    We blew it on that one.

    If there were hurt feelings over Catania's support of Patrick Mara in lieu of Carol, during her re-election in the Republican primary in 2008, they certainly do not exist today.

    Five years later in a very happy and successful retirement erases any signs of anger. Just look at anyone of us. Is it human nature to hold onto such negativity?

    As, Paul Simon says, "Time Heals All Wounds." Let's move off of the Catania sentiment. Frankly, I have always liked Catania and he has city support. Just now, he has some healthy competition.

    As for upcoming debates, Schwartz and Catania are exceptional debaters. Bowser needs work. A lot.

    Carol will show up and speak, unlike Mayor gray did in the last election. Carol doesn't doge debates or forums. She soars in them.

    Carol and Catania (Nice to ring to that "Term of Art,") will "Battle" each other well. Both are well spoken and coherent.

    Bowser's performance is weak. And, Over three years ago, I was certain this seat was hers. And, it was confirmed when Gray jumped in. All the other candidates had their own baggage and no chance of success.

    Then, Enter Catania? And, now Carol. Will Vincent Gray try a write-in as an Independent. In this town, one never knows.

    Carol will create a buzz, good will and likeability. That's all you need in a campaign. Carol has the instinctive and ingrained gift to "Own Any Room" Carol enters. Carol has a rowdy laugh and charm that brings an audience to their feet. Her deliberate and focused discussion empowers voters to rise to the occasion.

    Let's cut to the chase on all of this nonsense regarding why Carol is returning to DC politics.

    Most of you here consider yourselves, "Politicos." In the event you are in your element, then you clearly know there are dozens of reasons "Not to Enter a Political Crusade Four Months Before Showtime." Let's look at the extraordinary amount of work that goes into campaigning.

    Fundraising

    Political Forums (Debates)

    Campaign activities (walking neighborhoods, shaking hands, kissing babies, speeches, etc)

    Public Events (Adams Morgan Day, Pride Day, Passports DC, July 4 Parades, Halloween/Oktoberfest/Pumpkin Festivals, DC Drag Queen High Heel Race, National Hispanic Day, Barbecue Battle, DC

    Fashion Week, Latino Festival, etc. I haven't even begun to reference all the events that will put a candidate's scheduler into panic mode.

    Grassroots organizing: Recruiting campaign captains in every ward. They will run many campaigns in that voting district to distribute literature, making phone calls, defending Carol against criticism, encouraging neighbors and friends to support Carol, etc.

    Developing and Securing Endorsements. Developing a list of prominent people and organizations who will endorse and encourage their constituents to support Carol and work for her election effort.

    Developing a Communications Program. Executing a communications plan for earned media, paid media, and to direct voter contact with a campaign website, social media, brochures, press kits, press releases, email newsletters, white papers etc. And, most importantly, securing every email address for every district voter. And, then communicating with them frequently.

    Developing and Distributing Press Releases, Whitepapers, and Position Papers. Detailing the issues that are most important to Carol. How Carol will solve the problems that exist for District residents. Executing talking points about the issues and philosophy of how Carol will govern. This includes opposition research.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. Carol is allegedly a Rehoboth Beach Buff. You can rest assured Carol will not make that commute for the next four months even with the multitude of district residents summering there, Carol needs to reach hundreds of thousands of people. They are not having Happy Hour at the Blue Moon.

    As for fundraising, some of you think Carol is going to fund her campaign with savings. Do you really believe Carol has that kind of money sitting in her "nest egg?" If so, then turn in your "Politico Game Card." Muriel Bowser currently has well over $700,000 cash on hand remaining for the general election. And she already spent $1.5 million launching her campaign. And as we all know, the big money will come in over the next four months. Do the math! Do you really think Carol Schwartz has that kind of money laying around?

    Okay, maybe one or two of you "politicos" did put the most logical "burden" for Carol to put together. Carol has to "create and install" a Campaign Team. Theme. Organization. And, more.

    Piece of cake, right?

    Suffice it to say, over the next four plus months, there will be 24/7 work on the campaign. If she wins, she will need quite the vacation before she begins office, when Carol should be assembling her government. If she loses, she will embrace yet another Take II Retirement.And, for all of you who insist on calling Carol a, "Has-Been," let's put the right face on it. A "Has-Been" is someone who is no longer popular or successful.

    No would deny that Carol is quite popular and her activities, especially in public service (Volunteerism) is quite successful. One could say, Carol is a, "Once-Was."

    Carol "Once-Was" a Very Successful and Popular Elected Official.

    Carol believes in herself and her abilities, as evidenced with Carol's campaigns against Marion Barry and Tony Williams. Why would she go up and against Bowser and Catania with all of these disadvantages in assembling her campaign on such short notice, if she didn't think, she had a chance in hell.

    Switching Carol's registration from Republican to Independent will only support and soar her candidacy. Look at all those hundreds of thousands of voters she came into contact with Carol over her 28 years of elected office. Would a "Democratic Label" have supported Carol's efforts? Sure, then she wouldn't have created, "Democrats for Carol," giving voters permission to cross party lines. And the results of Carol's two most recent Mayoral runs proved it work. Now, there is no more, "Sell Job." How so many "Dyed-in-the-Wool" Democrats had begged Carol to do so earlier.

    “Perennial Mayoral Candidate?” Only, Carol! Only Carol has the innate skill to turn any negative into a positive. Carol addressed it in her announcement: "The dictionary defines "perennial" as constant, lasting, unfailing, unchanging, abiding, enduring." Yep, that adequately and beautifully characterizes who Carol is and what she does. She's right, "These are actually some of the qualities DC Voters should look for in a Mayor.

    Oh, and Carol has a full understanding of the issues.

    Google Carol's record.

    Read Carol's announcement to enter the race this week.

    From her successful elected runs on the School Board and voted into leadership positions, she brought back standardized tests and saw scores rise. Carol participated in firing an inadequate superintendent to make way for two very successful ones. Carol championed Banneker Academic High School. Carol instituted back to basic curriculum. Carol advocated for a longer school day and year as well as stronger evaluations of teachers. And, at the time, Carol's first child out of three was born circa 40+ years ago, Carol and her late husband were on their way to become people of means. Carol chose to enroll all three of her children in DC Public Schools. Pre K through Grade 12. No private schools for Carol. Not, that she didn't see the value for District residents to take that path, but she was putting her focus on building a system all residents could be proud of.

    That's Carol.

    Let's Look at a Few of Carol's Many Accomplishments:

    In Carol's earlier years on the Council, Carol lowered the income tax from 11% to 9.5%. Carol fought for seniors to remain in their homes by allowing them to defer rising property taxes until they decided to sell.

    Carol lowered D.C.’s inheritance tax (the highest in the country at the time) to match the federal level.

    Carol created two annual tax free holidays for back-to school and holiday purchases.

    In addition to embracing the "Comeback" of our city, in which she played a major part, Carol is most concerned about the district residents who are being left behind or pushed out. Carol has always concentrated on the disenfranchised and the welfare of all city residents. Not, just the 1%, of which she is not member.

    Carol was the sole voice on the council to stop the earmarks and naturally, was unsuccessful. The earmarks continued and prospered. The corruption on the council needed to stay alive and well.

    However, Carol was successful in stopping members of the Council from raising the amounts collected for their Constituent Service Funds, knowing they were plum for harm. When Carol left office, her voice was diminished and the Council proceeded with unanimously doubling the amount of funds they could raise each year. The earmarks got even bigger in number and amounts.

    And, the corruption continued. That's right. Maybe, Carol was just "Too Ethical" for the job?

    Carol banned the DC government purchase of SUV's except for emergency use; which certainly wasn't in play when D.C. Council chairman, Kwame R. Brown was elected and he ordered a "fully loaded" Lincoln Navigator L with a DVD entertainment system, power moon roof and polished aluminum wheels. Alas, the corruption continued.

    And the Corruption Still Continues. Carol's name, history or legacy cannot be remotely associated with any of it. Carol has always been squeaky clean in her campaigning, not one allegation against her and with her governance, not one censure or reprimand. Carol always saw the council as an institution of principal. Her integrity is beyond reproach. You cannot find them cleaner than Carol.

    Carol Is Corrupt Free. And, that is one "Factoid" we can all agree on.

    Was Carol ever ahead of her time? Repeatedly! Specifically, 13 years ago, when she pressured Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins owner, to change the destructive name of our football team back in 2001, over a decade before President Obama and other prominent Washingtonians jumped in. Carol was successful in securing the resolution from the D.C. Council and the Council of Governments.

    Ahead of her time? Carol prohibited the harassment of students based on sexual orientation. This was long before The Supremes ruling on Gay Marriage last year and all the national dialogue on bullying.

    And, Carol enacted the strongest Whistleblower Protection Law in the country which was replicated by the federal government. Not too shabby. And, again, "Ahead of her time."

    I remember past campaign mantras where Carol wanted to kill the "15 minute Quarters" on the meters, which are now, "75 Cents" or more for 15 minutes. Carol removed most parking meter fees on weekends and evenings and loosened parking rules for residents overnight.

    And for us Nats fans, Carol voted for baseball after ensuring that the District got the best deal possible from Major League Baseball. It's a shame Carol's not managing or coaching the team to help them reach for higher heights.

    Carol may have ultimately lost in 2008 on her ground-breaking D.C. mandated paid sick and safe leave bill, but it was the first of its kind in the nation (Again, ahead of her time) and that is a very good way to go out.

    So, after reading this diatribe, what are you expected to do?

    Sign Carol's petition as Carol needs 3,000 signatures and jump on her campaign and bring her to victory.

    Rich Peterson
    A Loyal Supporter, Follower and Voter During Her Years of Service.

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