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Home / US / An "Urban Republican" runs for city council in Trump-despising, Democratic D.C.

An "Urban Republican" runs for city council in Trump-despising, Democratic D.C.



Michael Bekesha, a Republican Candidate for a DC Council He sat in an overwhelmingly democratic city, stood at his stall at the H Street Festival on a sunny October Saturday, and had a completely civilian exchange with two residents of Ward 6.

They seemed to agree with many of the booths of Bekesha – a premiere The contemporary, who challenged incumbent Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), called his banner "socially progressive": more resources for schools, subsidized housing for Policemen and teachers, an end to police work.

Ann Corbett, who works as an environmental lawyer, has urged him because of global warming. Bekesha agreed that it was an "urgent" problem.

"I'm not a Republican who denies climate change," Bekesha said.

"You mean you're a Republican who can survive in DC politics," Corbett Partner, Simon Billeness, a human rights activist

said, "I call myself an 'urban Republican & # 39 ;, said Bekesha.


Increased party-political tensions mean Republicans spend a lot of time explaining that they are NOT Trump Republicans. (Jahi Chikwendiu / The Washington Post)

The couple moved away after wishing the candidate luck.

But would you vote for him?

"Not this year," Corbett said in an "Elect Women" shirt after being out of Bekesha's earshot. "There are cycles that I would choose for a Republican, this is not one of them, he has to be turned down at the ballot box."

She does not mean "he" Bekesha. "He seems like a reasonable guy," said Corbett. She means President Trump.

It has never been easy for Republican candidates to govern in the district, a city with 12 times more registered Democrats than Republicans. But partisan delusion about Trump means that local Republicans find that they need to explain a bit more when they ask for votes.

"I think it's a bit harder at the moment," Bekesha admitted. "I spend a lot of time clarifying that I'm not such a Republican."

Bekesha, 37, is the type of Republican who wrote in 2016 for the President of Ohio, Governor John Kasich, who owns no car, lives in a Navy Yard apartment with a Democratic woman and a rescue beagle. The kind that supports D.C. statehood. A native of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts native adores the state's moderate republican community-building and cites his former Republican governor William Weld as a political hero. Another is the late Sen. John McCain

The words "Republican" or "GOP" appear nowhere on the plane he left on the portals around Capitol Hill – once 30 miles on a weekend. "Proud member of a two-party marriage" is as close as it comes. "Socially progressive and responsible for tax."

"I do not feel the need to promote a party line," Bekesha said, especially in a department where only 7,500 of the 79,000 voters are Republicans.

Bekesha is one of three GOP candidates to appear on the city's ballot on November 6. Ralph Chittams, a former DC GOP Vice Chairman, challenges senior council member Elissa Silverman (I), and Nelson Rimensnyder runs against Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) as the district's non-voting congressman. The party has produced no election winner since long-time council member Carol Schwartz left office in 2009.

Bekesha's republicanism is mainly federalist and fiscal. He wants the national government to do less, and he wants the local government to spend less, or at least spend more than necessary. In recent local issues, he supported the cancellation of the mandated salary increase for restaurant servers by the city council. and he refuses the move to restrict Airbnb-type rents in the city. Mostly he believes that the entire city government would benefit from a small two-party control.

"There is no accountability with a party in power"

Some of his Republican colleagues have urged him to embrace the president, he said. He answers that his arm's length stance is not only strategic but personal as well. He has considered leaving the party since Trump won the nomination and then the White House. If the GOP continues to turn into a Trumpian institution, he says he can still do it.

"But I'm not ready to give it up," he said.

DC's Republican top republican, GOP chairman Jose Cunningham, said he agreed with Bekesh's Republican campaign, which is non-republican, even though he himself is an avid Trump supporter.

"In my view, he has a good campaign for his community," said Cunningham. "He's doing the right things."

A far greater headache for Cunningham is the Trump-hating members of his group, who have fallen to the ground and closed their wallets. As he sees the president's enthusiasm grow at GOP meetings across the country, Cunningham returns home to find that Washington's Republicans still despise Trump.

"This is a city where many Republicans have decided early on, never trumps," said Cunningham.

Party coffers suffered as campaign finance documents show the party spent more than $ 370,000 in 2015 and 2016. But has raised just over $ 240,000 in the two years since – about half of the contributors.

"Some of them say they disagree with that, president in office," said Cunningham. [19659030] Unlike Bekesha, Chittams runs as an avowed conservative.

"REPUBLIKANER" was dropped above the top of the booklet he distributed at the H Street Festival, saying that black voters in particular – Chittams is an African-American pastor – are warming to his message of personal responsibility and even his vocal support for Trump. "I think now people are watching over the failure of One-party ranks on "governing in this city," Chittams said.

At a recent forum, a man came to him and said he agreed with every point Chittams made.

"Then he said," But I still can not vote because you're a Republican, "he said." Some people are still trapped in a hyperparticulate attitude. "

Bekesha said that only two voters believed him harassed his affiliation with the GOP, one of them in front of the polling station on election day 1. Immediately, a volunteer approached Allen, the democrat against whom Bekesha was fighting, and apologized for the outbreak of the electorate

"Actually, this was all Experience extremely positive, "he said," I have grown from it both personally and professionally. "

When he goes door-to-door, the few voters who do not kill him as quickly as possible want the future of the RFC Stadium talk, or used condoms in H Street or a few shoots near D Street. It's only the reporters who ask about hot national topics like Obamacare (he was against it being Ge Brett M. Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court supported Kavanaugh up to the judge's allegations of aggravation and "emotional outburst" in the closing hearing.

Only the reporters ask about his employer, Judicial Watch, a conservative group that was a legal thorn in the Clinton administration's mind. Bekesha, a lawyer who continues to investigate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as Secretary of State, describes his motivation to submit countless inquiries into the Freedom of Information Act, the transparency that every administration should show. He points out that Judicial Watch was a nuisance to both Democratic and Republican White Houses.

"About transparency, Obama was probably no worse off than Bush," he said. "And the Trump administration is definitely not better, probably worse."

He says there's a way for him to win by spitting out almost every one of the 7,500 registered Republicans from Ward 6 and luring a good portion of his 14,000 independents. He also said he would consider it a triumph to be the first GOP candidate to crack 15 percent of the vote on the station.

That may depend on enough Democrats willing to control a partisan gag reflex

Becca Damante (23), resident of Station 6, listened with interest as Bekesha talked about policing and schools under control of the mayor. A Democrat, she thanked him, accepted a leaflet and said, out of his hearing, no way.

"I just do not have much respect for the Republican Party," she said.

Peter Jamison contributed to this report.


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