District Digest: You try mow your lawn with a chainsaw

Let freedom ring-a-ding-ding

Chris Cox, the South Carolina native who took it upon himself to mow the Lincoln Memorial’s neglected lawn during the government shutdown, was honored recently with a commendation by Rep. Darrell Issa in a congressional record.

Cox also received a new chainsaw today, courtesy of a random-acts-of-kindness website called Crowd It Forward. Additional donations were made to a veteran’s charity of Cox’s choosing.

Rock the vote, but don’t tip the vote over

There’s some funky stuff going down in the race for attorney general across the Potomac. Though the votes were cast in Virginia’s race between Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain over a week ago, the contest remains undecided. To use a phrase usually heard on presidential election nights, it’s too close to call.

As of Monday evening, Herring was beating Obenshain by a mere 117 votes out of roughly 2.2 million cast. By Vox‘s calculations, that’s a 0.005 percent margin of victory.

The Virginia Board of Elections has a hard deadline of November 25 to declare victory in favor of either Herring or Obenshain, and Politico reports that the board has at least 183 more ballots to certify, most of them being provisional. Additional contested ballots are slated to pour in as local election boards comb through last Tuesday’s votes. Even so, the election looks to be headed for a recount, which state law allows for if an election is contested by a margin of one percent or less.

¢ommon $ense

Last week, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Government Operations approved a package of campaign finance  reforms, entitled the “Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Amendment Act of 2013.” The bill, sponsored by Democratic councilman Kenyan McDuffie, seeks, among other things, to close the district’s infamous “LLC loophole,” which allows business owners to exceed campaign contribution limits by channeling money through multiple companies.

In light of Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign corruption scandal, to many this seems like a well-timed idea. McDuffie’s legislation is expected to be put to a vote in the D.C. Council proper within the next few weeks.

You can expect plenty of campaign signs come next year

Two new contender’s for D.C.’s mayoralty entered the fray this week: Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets along with other popular area restaurants, and Vincent Orange, a democratic member of the D.C. Council. Shallal’s decision to run came after he grew frustrated with sitting Mayor Vincent Gray’s silence vis-à-vis his own reelection, reports The Washington Post. Orange’s candidacy was more expected, since he has run for Mayor and Chair of the D.C. Council in years previous. His candidacy is less auspicious than Orange’s, as his special election to the D.C. Council in 2011 was marred by a campaign finance scandal, a recurring trope in this city.

Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

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