With the city’s heavily Democratic majority among registered voters, presidential races may not be much of a contest in the District of Columbia. Nonpartisan advisory neighborhood commission seats, however, are far less predictable. But with most of the votes counted, it’s clear that Logan Circle residents have elected a gay-majority ANC.
The Logan Circle ANC 2F, one of 37 in the city, has six of the district’s 286 unpaid commissioners’ seats. On Nov. 2, they were all up for grabs. Only one incumbent was running, and even he was being challenged. That incumbent, Jim Brandon, held onto his seat with 58 percent of the vote. He is one of ANC 2F’s gay commissioners.
“I only won by one vote in the last election,” says Brandon, who will be starting his ninth term as a commissioner. “To come out with a 58-to-42 margin felt very good.”
Gay newcomers joining Brandon are Christopher Dyer, Michael Nelson and Matt Raymond. Dyer and Raymond faced competitors for their seats, while Nelson ran unopposed.
The two remaining seats go to Charles Reed and a write-in candidate, named Wednesday after Metro Weekly‘s deadline.
Geographically, ANC 2F covers a huge amount of prime real estate in the northwest quadrant. The area is an imperfect rectangle, the borders of which reach to S Street in the north, Independence Avenue in the south, 16th Street in the west, and Ninth Street in the east.
The four gay commissioners, despite their varied backgrounds — from drag queen (Dyer) to Log Cabin Republican (Raymond) — voice confidence that they will be able to work well together.
“I think we’ve all got the same goals in that we want sane development, we want safety improved,” says Dyer, a.k.a. Cookie Buffet. “I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of divisiveness. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Gay majority or not, none of the ANC 2F commissioners thinks sexual orientation will make much difference where ANC decisions are concerned.
“One of the local papers asked me what my agenda was,” says Nelson. “I don’t have one. Our area is developed and it’s doing pretty well. I don’t have a specific cause.”
Raymond, who campaigned largely on an anti-crime platform speaks similarly. “I don’t think I come into this position with any sort of gay agenda,” says Raymond. “Who I am is going to affect what decisions I make, positions I take. But I laid out what I thought was a fairly straightforward platform for everyone in Logan Circle.”
As the veteran of the bunch, and with designs on chairing the commission, Brandon says jokingly that he has a simple test for whether or not the new gay commissioners are doing a good job: “I’ve never worked with any of them before. If they agree with me, they’re doing a good job. I’ll just have to wait and see.”