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Updated: Fiona Greig Withdraws from Ward 2 Race

Greig tells supporters that she did not expect the 'intimidation campaign' from the Evans campaign, which denies any such efforts.

Updated 10:27 a.m.

Fiona Greig's campaign was never a "reality," according to Tom Lindenfeld, a political consultant for Jack Evans' campaign. Lindenfeld denied the allegations Greig raised in her parting note to supporters, including that the Evans campaign had hired a private investigator to dig into her personal life.

"There’s no private investigator involved anywhere, that’s total fiction," said Lindenfeld in a phone interview with Patch.

He said the campaign sent a staffer to obtain the finance report that Greig filed to which she inadvertently attached a list of targeted donors. The list labeled donors as "homosexual" and "super wealthy."

Lindenfeld denied doing any opposition research against Greig.

"There are things that as a matter of course anyone does, but that is public document, not opposition research," said Lindenfeld.

Greig's campaign chair, Ken Archer, said in a post on Greater Greater Washington that she was stepping down because she did not want "to expose her young family to the gutter politics and smear campaigns."

Lindenfeld balked at Archer's allegations and said Greig is getting out of the campaign for her own reasons, but not because of anything the Evans campaign did.

"She’s not getting out of the race because some guy with a cigar walked by her house," said Lindenfeld. Archer described an instance where he observed a man smoking a cigar pacing the street near Greig's home and he suggested this person was a PI.

Being the Ward 2 Council member and running a political campaign are tough jobs, said Lindenfeld.

"I can’t tell you whether she would be up to that or not. She’s told us she’s not."

Original Post

Fiona Greig has exited the race for Ward 2's District Council seat amid and an alleged intimidation campaign organized by incumbent Jack Evans' campaign. She officially Oct. 28.

In an email to supporters, Greig's campaign chair, Ken Archer told supporters that Greig will exit the race nearly guaranteeing Jack Evans' reelection.

"I wish she would have stayed in the race, but I understand her decision. The political culture in this city needs to change, and Councilmember Evans, for all that he has done over the past 20 years, is enabling rather than reforming our political culture" wrote Archer.

Below is the message Greig left on her campaign website to her supporters.

To Friends, Supporters and Members of the Ward 2 Community:

I have decided not to run for the Ward 2 seat on the DC Council, a decision that comes after a great deal of contemplation and discussion with my family and friends. I want to thank all of you who encouraged me to run, and especially those who gave financial support to my efforts.

I wanted to run because I think that Ward 2 should be a leader in ethical government, community-based school reform, and smart growth and development. Perhaps I’m biased, but I believe we have some of the best neighborhoods in this city, and we should have the best public assets—such as schools, parks, transportation, and even a ward Councilmember—that equal our great residents and businesses. My husband, Paul, and I decided to buy our house because it was across the street from Rose Park, a gem of our city, and because the wonderful business strips along M and Wisconsin allowed us all kinds of amenities without ever getting into a car.

Like many of you, I was embarrassed by the stories I read in the newspaper about our elected government, and I wanted to do something. I have a lot of professional experience working with federal government agencies to find efficiencies in operations, and I relished digging into the DC budget to do the same. I also had experience working within DC government. As many of you know, while on loan from McKinsey to the Deputy Mayor’s office, I started the program, Bank on DC, which has enabled thousands of DC residents to get bank accounts. I loved that experience, and even my husband said he thought it was the happiest he’d seen me.

But working inside DC government didn’t prepare me for what I faced when I launched an underdog challenge for the Ward 2 seat. Perhaps I was naïve, but I didn’t expect to face an intimidation campaign by a 20-year-incumbent and his supporters. At home, I received muffled phone calls telling me about the “dirt” my opponent had on me. Someone wanting to hold a Meet and Greet for me received nasty emails from the opposing campaign. And I learned from a city agency that a well-known private investigator whose firm does “surveillance” and “domestic investigations” had requested my records. Maybe that explains the man who repeatedly walked past my house one night, looking in the windows.

All this occurred because I thought it would be good for voters to have another choice on the ballot. In my opinion, this intimidation campaign just isn’t right. We need to change the nature of the local DC politics to welcome more residents to take part in our political process—not spend time and money to shut them out. Without more resident participation, we know which voices will get heard. In this election, more than 50 percent of contributions to the Evans campaign come from big business – developers, parking garages and restaurants, many of whom hide their ownership behind limited liability companies. In economics we call this “extracting rents” – no business would give to a campaign if there wasn’t something to gain. This has led me to see the need for strong campaign finance reform, and I plan on lending my voice and time to this effort.

I made some mistakes in trying to wage a campaign, but I don’t consider it a mistake that I tried. After six weeks of intense effort, I decided I just wasn’t ready to mount the kind of campaign it would take to win.

I want to once again thank my supporters for all their time, effort, and encouragement.

Fiona

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