District of Columbia Republican Party
ChairpersonPatrick Mara
FoundedJune 19, 1855
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Student wingDistrict of Columbia College Republicans
Youth wingDistrict of Columbia Young Republicans
Women's wingLeague of Republican Women of DC
Membership (2021)Increase30,146[1]
IdeologyConservatism
Political positionCenter-right to right-wing
National affiliationRepublican Party
Colors  Red
District Council
0 / 13
Website
www.dcgop.com

The District of Columbia Republican Party (DC GOP) is the District of Columbia affiliate of the United States Republican Party. It was founded on June 19, 1855 and is made up of registered Republican voters living in Washington, D.C. elected to serve as the governing body of the Party. The party chairman is Jose Cunningham and the party is housed in the District of Columbia alongside the Republican Party national headquarters.

The party faces steep difficulties in getting its candidates elected, as Democrats hugely outnumber Republicans in the District of Columbia. No Republican has ever been elected mayor since District of Columbia home rule began in 1975. The DC Republicans have had no representation in the D.C. Council since Carol Schwartz left office in 2009.

As of January 7, 2019, there are 30,001 registered voters affiliated with the Republican Party of the District of Columbia.[2] That is 6.15% of all registered voters.[2]

Leadership and organization

The District of Columbia Republican Party is chaired by Patrick Mara. The DC Republican National Committeeman is Robert J. Kabel and the DC Republican National Committeewoman is Jill Homan. The party is currently conducting a search for a new executive director.[3]

Members of the DC GOP elect its chairman every two years. The Republican National Committeeman and Committeewoman are elected at the same time as the DC Republican presidential primary every four years, which is open to all Republican voters. The chairman appoints executive committee members with the approval of the DC GOP. Election to the DC GOP requires nomination by an existing DC GOP member and confirmation by the DC GOP Membership Recruitment Committee.

Electoral strategy

According to the District of Columbia Home Rule Act (D.C. Code 1-221(d)(2)), "at no time shall there be more than three members (including the Chairman) serving at large on the Council who are affiliated with the same political party."[4] This gives the DC Republicans their largest opportunity, and their main efforts are usually directed at this race. Rather than defeat the Democrats, a Republican candidate for an at-large seat need only defeat any independents, Libertarians, and DC Statehood Green Party candidates in the race.

Recent history

The most successful and high-profile Republican in elected office of recent years is former councilwoman Carol Schwartz (at-large). First elected in 1984, she served one term before deciding not to seek re-election in 1988. Voters returned her to the at-large seat in 1996. She was re-elected in 2000 and 2004, but lost the Republican primary election in 2008. Schwartz ran for mayor of the District of Columbia as a Republican four times (1986, 1994, 1998 and 2002), all unsuccessfully.

In 2008, Patrick Mara defeated Schwartz for the Republican nomination. Mara was backed by an endorsement from The Washington Post's editorial board and anger from the business community at Schwartz's support of a mandatory sick-leave bill.[5][6] Schwartz continued to run as a write-in candidate, and both received approximately 10% of the vote. This was not enough to stop independent Michael A. Brown, formerly a Democrat, from receiving the largest vote share of the non-Democrats up for election, leaving the Council with no Republican members since 2009.[7] The D.C. Republican Party sued the D.C. electoral board, arguing that, even though Brown officially registered as an independent in May 2008, he practically campaigned as a Democratic candidate. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals found that the D.C. electoral board and Ethics correctly considered Brown to be an independent during the election and that the Board should not investigate the day-to-day associations of a particular candidate to determine whether their party registration or lack thereof is genuine.[8]

Allegations raised by Tim Day, former Ward 5 DC Council candidate, and Paul Craney, former executive director, helped initiate an investigation into Councilmember Harry Thomas, who defeated Day in a 2010 race.[9] Thomas resigned in January 2012. Thomas agreed to 2 federal felony charges and was sentenced to 38 months in prison.[10]

As of 2022, there are nine council members affiliated with the Democratic Party and two council members not affiliated with any political party.

Mayoral election results

Year Mayoral nominee Votes %
1974 Jackson R. Champion 3,501 3.65%
1978 Arthur Fletcher 27,366 28.09%
1982 E. Brooke Lee Jr. 16,501 14.07%
1986 Carol Schwartz 42,354 32.84%
1990 Maurice Turner 18,653 11.47%
1994 Carol Schwartz 76,902 41.87%
1998 Carol Schwartz 42,280 30.24%
2002 Carol Schwartz 45,407 34.47%
2006 David Kranich 6,744 6.13%
2010 No candidate
2014 No candidate[a]
2018 No candidate
  1. ^ Former Republicans David Catania and Carol Schwartz ran as independents and received 34.6% and 7.0%, respectively, but neither was endorsed by the DC Republican Party.

References

  1. ^ Winger, Richard. "March 2021 Ballot Access News Print Edition". Ballot Access News. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Voter Registration Statistics" District of Columbia Board of Elections. April 2018.
  3. ^ Sommer, Will (November 19, 2015). "Of Mice and Maras: College Sophomore Frays D.C. GOP's Nerves". Washington City Paper.
  4. ^ "Title IV - The District Charter: Part A - The Council: Subpart 1 - Creation of the Council: Creation and Membership".
  5. ^ Nakamura, David A. (July 21, 2008). "Board of Trade Endorses Mara Over Schwartz". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008.
  6. ^ Stewart, Nikita (September 2, 2008). "Primary Pits Schwartz In a GOP Showdown". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ General Election 2008: Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections & Ethics. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on November 27, 2008.
  8. ^ "Kabel v. DC Bd. of Elections and Ethics", 962 A.2d 919 (D.C. 2008).
  9. ^ DeBonis, Mike (January 6, 2012). "D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. resigns after being charged with embezzlement". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Craig, Tim; DeBonis, Mike (May 4, 2012). "D.C. Politics". The Washington Post.