WASHINGTON – Washington, D.C. Mayor Tony Williams has parted ways with his campaign chairman in the wake of a petition filing scandal that revealed most of the signatures on his re-election filing forms were bogus.
Campaign manager Charles N. Duncan handed in his resignation Wednesday. A new replacement will be named shortly, Williams said in his first press conference since it was revealed last week that he may not have the signatures needed to run for a second term.
The people of the District deserve better than to be duped by a phony signature campaign, Williams said.
Signature collectors handed in more than 10,000 signatures in time for the July 3 filing deadline even though only 2,000 signatures were needed to get the mayor on the ballot.
But the Republican Party, which isn't even fielding a candidate in the mayoral race, filed a complaint questioning the validity of the signatures after a Virginia-based executive announced that someone had forged his signature. Though a Williams supporter, James V. Kimsey, the co-founder of America Online, is not qualified to sign a petition since he lives outside the district.
The city elections board now has two weeks to sort through all the names to see if the mayor is qualified to run. Williams said Wednesday that his advisers told him he has enough signatures to make it onto the September Democratic primary ballot, but other options were in consideration, including launching a write-in candidacy.
Williams said he would not leave the Democratic Party in order to compete.
The mayor, an extremely popular candidate across the city, took the blame himself and said that he should have more closely supervised the staff coordinating his re-election effort. He said that he has also suspended all the campaign workers involved in collecting signatures.