Will David Catania Be Any Less Of A Jerk If He Is Elected DC’s First Gay Mayor?

David CataniaHere’s the good news for David Catania: the independent running to be mayor of the District of Columbia is making a surprisingly strong run, putting him within striking distance of becoming the city’s first gay mayor.

Here’s the bad news: he’s still a bit of a jerk.

Catania has served for 17 years on the DC city council, having first won election as a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic city. To his credit, Catania objected strenuously when George W. Bush used opposition to gay marriage to drive the Christian right vote in 2004, leaving the Republican party after the party made it clear he wasn’t welcome.

Catania threw his hat in the ring for the DC mayoralty in March, he’s run a credible campaign against uphill odds. In the final stretch, he’s still lagging in polls against Democrat Muriel Bowser, but the district’s changing demographics don’t make a win look out of the question. 

As it turns out, being an independent in a partisan city may not be as bit an issue for Catania as being a mini-Chris Christie. Catania has a well-earned reputation for anger.

“I will be the first to confess on more than one occasion my passion has gotten the better of me,” Catania told the Washington Post last year. “As I’ve aged in this position — I was 29 when I was first elected — I think I’ve become more measured. But every once in a while, I relapse.”

More than every once in a while, judging by reporting from the campaign trail. While talking to a voter about his record on education, he stopped to chastise two people behind him having their own conversation. “Would you mind?” Catania complained. “I’m hearing voices in the back of my head.”

“He seems unacquainted with Isaac Newton’s quote, ‘Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy,’” Washington Post columnist Colbert King wrote in an otherwise glowing column. “Catania always assumes he’s the smartest person in the room. Thus he often comes across as a bad listener who respects only his point of view — a toxic attitude when building relationships is required.”

Catania also doesn’t win any points with the other openly gay member of the District Council, Democrat Jim Graham.

“What separates David from anyone else I’ve known on the council is the ad hominem attacks,” said Graham. “He’s gotten big things done. He’s a brilliant strategist. But his mode of operation is to make people afraid of him.” Graham recalled Catania telling other council members that he’d make sure they were defeated. “He said, ‘I’m going to get you,’” Graham recounted. “Is this an emotionally balanced professional?”

Graham has endorsed Bowser, but he’s not exactly enthusiastic about either candidate: “One gets things done with a few broken bones, and the other doesn’t get things done.”

For his part, Catania says he’s mellowed in light of the advance of marriage equality and his own relationship with event planner Bill Enright, whom Catania hopes to marry one day.

“I went from being told I would never be equal to being the architect of that change,” said Catania, who introduced the measure that led to marriage equality in DC. “To be able to look at Bill now and say this is someone I could marry, that’s huge, huge, huge. Huge.”

Tuesday will make it clear whether DC voters are willing to overlook Catania’s temper in favor of his reputation for getting things done. Even if he loses, though, it probably won’t be Catania’s last run for mayor. In the future, the demographics may be running his favor.

Photo credit: Adam Fagen

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  • Cam

    “”Graham has endorsed Bowser, but he’s not exactly enthusiastic about either candidate: “One gets things done with a few broken bones, and the other doesn’t get things done.”””


    Ok, so you have quotes by a guy who admits to endorsing somebody that he says “Doesn’t get things done”???

    This seems like a bit of a hit job.

    Bowser has tried to sidestep DC requirements and sell a public building to one of her largest backers, for $3 million dollars. The problem? That backer has given Bowser $20,000 dollars. Oh, and the City building has been appraised at around $21 million. So by paying Bowser $20 thousand dollars he stands to make a very fast $18 million.

    Bowser has tried to step in and block the investigation of another one of her biggest supporters who has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the non-profit she runs that oversees a huge affordable housing complex. Residents went for years without repairs and the City finally stepped in to investigate when it got so bad their health was impacted. The tenants security deposits have vanished, and the mortgage hasn’t been paid in years. The Bowser supporter also was getting a free house and didn’t pay rent for years. When the City tried to investigate Bowser stepped in to demand under what authority.

    And Queerty is attacking the guy who authored the Districts Marriage equality bill, authored the bills to get most of the city medical insurance, and has been rated more liberal than Bowser.

    So the point of this article seems to be, kiss ass and don’t do anything and it won’t matter that you are corrupt, you will get endorsed???

  • demented

    Bowser is running for office? I guess he decided to defeat Mario in the polls.

  • Saint Law

    Gosh. Cam always has the dirt on these creeps.

  • BJ McFrisky

    He’s a “jerk” because he asked someone to quiet down? Wow, you guys are really fishing for shortcomings, aren’t you?

    Catania is a gay, white, former Republican, and Bowser is a black Democrat.
    Anyone who’s ever lived or worked in D.C. knows who’s going to win, and it won’t even be close.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Catania has positions to the left of much of Bowsers, he had healthcare for most in DC before the ACA even came up for a vote. Bowser is a political lightweight.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Lightweight or not, it won’t even be close. How do I know this? Because I have eyes than can see the skin-tone differences between them, and I know how D.C. residents vote.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    See BJ, this is why people don’t take what you say seriously. I’m sorry to ruin your victimology screed about the poor put upon whites, but you seem to have missed the part where there are TWO independents running in the race. Catania and Carol Scwartz. Schwarts has pulled about 13%-14% of the vote and if she was out and her voters went to the most likely candidate (Catania) he would win.

    But I guess it works better for you to claim that it’s all about him being white rather than actually posting the facts that there are two people splitting the independent and disatisfied Dem vote against Bowser.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: Spin it any way you want (racism! sexism! homophobia! islamophobia! agoraphobia!), but Bowser is going to win. It’s called: Seeing the world through a prism of reality rather than one of political correctness.
    I’ll be sure to remind you of this conversation on Wednesday.
    G’day, mate.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    Actually your posting wasn’t whether or not Bowser would win, you said she would win because of her color and party.

    As usual you left the facts out. I pointed out the part you left out, that the vote is being split, and you were unable to respond to that actual fact so then put up a follow up post trying to change history.

    If having facts pointed out is so upsetting to you, then stop bending the truth.

  • Skipster

    As a long time Democrat and union guy, I’ve worked with David. (I also supported Muriel Bowser in the special election when she was first elected). DC needs an effective Mayor who can ride herd respectfully on the many diverse parts that make up the District of Columbia. David’s diplomatic skills have grown significantly, but he still has that drive for excellence which is so needed in the District Building. Regardless of style, David’s heart and brain are in the right place- for economic growth and social justice for those left out of our massive gentrification. He’s run a good campaign, but I think the Bowser campaign thought it was over when she won the party primary. So yes he has a decent outside shot of winning tomorrow. It’s a shame Carol is running a revenge campaign ( David didn’t support her when she lost the GOP nomination) She should be remembered as a brilliant compassionate independent voice on the Council. But this will not happen now.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: You see, Cammy, this is why no one takes you seriously. Again, you resort to petty tactics and phantom issues to make yourself feel smart. I didn’t “address the facts”? I never claimed to be addressing anything, and had no desire to respond to your rationalization of why Bowser will win and Catania won’t, because you see everything through a prism of political correctness. I’ve no patience for such foolishness.

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    BJ, once again, you love to say things without saying anything. Here is a cut and past of your comment. “How do I know this? Because I have eyes than can see the skin-tone differences between them, ”

    So you stated that color is the reason he won’t win.

    I simply pointed out that you were leaving out the fact that there is another independent running in the race splitting the vote and if she wasn’t running and her voters went to Catania as is most likely then he would have the numbers to win.

    And as always, you get upset when somebody points out that your comment either was false, or left out relevant facts.

    If you get upset when somebody does this, then once again, stop posting false or incomplete comments and it won’t happen.

  • Polaro

    I voted for Catania. DC has changed. Very low turnout. Lots of gay guys at my precinct in a decidedly not gay area. He might pull it off. We’re tired of the bs DC government. Catania is a step away from the crony ineptitude that plagues the city.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Cam: But then how would you release all the snark that’s pent up inside you?

  • Cam

    @BJ McFrisky:

    And once again, you cannot defend or respond to my comments, so you try to make a non topical quip.

    Once again, if you can’t defend your comments, you might want to rethink making them.

Comments are closed.