Brandon Tristan Todd (born May 26, 1983) is a Democratic politician who represents Ward 4 on the Council of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C. Todd previously worked in the Council office of Muriel Bowser and in various campaign positions during her successful campaign for Mayor of the District of Columbia . Todd won a special election on May 2015, succeeding Muriel Bowser, who was elected as Mayor. Todd was sworn into office on May 14, 2015, and served the remainder of Bowser's term. He won the June 2016 Democratic primary and the November 2016 general election for the position.

Early life and education

Todd was born on May 26, 1983, [27] and raised in Washington, D.C. He graduated from Eastern High School and has a communications degree from Bowie State University and a Master in Business Administration from Trinity Washington University . [5]

Todd joined the Democratic Party in October 2007 after voting in five elections as a member of the Republican Party. [7]

Career

In 2012, Todd managed Bowser's campaign for reelection as Ward 4 Councilmember. He served as Bowser's director of constituent services. In the same year, Todd was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention representing wards 3, 4, 5, and 7. [31]

In March 2013, Todd coordinated a construction job fair for workers skilled in mechanical, electrical, plumbing, concrete, rough carpentry, masonry, roofing, and waterproofing in Fort Totten Square . [32]

On June 5, 2013, Todd was elected chair of the Ward 4 Democrats. [33] He launched a new web site and Twitter account for the organization. [5] In 2014, he was Finance Director for Bowser's mayoral campaign. [5]

Electoral history

2014 special election

On December 4, 2014, Todd announced his candidacy for councilmember for Ward 4 after the position was vacated when Bowser was elected Mayor. Within three days of his announcement, Todd had raised $50,000. [11] In the final campaign finance filing before the election, Todd had three times the financial reserves of his nearest rival. [12] Todd accepted donations from LLCs owned by companies, which allowed companies to donate additional money to the campaign. [13] [14]

Todd advertised his close relationship with the mayor, saying he was the only candidate in the field who would be able to pick up the phone and discuss the ward’s needs directly with her. At a debate, it was reported that Todd searched on Google when asked to name a historical figure whose leadership he admired. His campaign had no comment on the action. [16] [17] Todd won with 42% of the vote. [18]

2016 general election

In the June 14, 2016 D.C Council Ward 4 Democratic primary election, Todd won with 49% of the vote. [34] He received the endorsements of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, Democrats for Education Reform, [35] and The Washington Post . [36] Todd won reelection for a full four-year term in the general election on November 8, 2016. [3] He garnered 35,100 votes. [28]

Council terms

First (partial) council term

Todd said that he opposed awarding the operation of DC's prisons to a controversial private management company. [16] After his election, Todd said that the Council should not be involved in awarding the contract. [19]

While campaigning, Todd was one of the few candidates who did not oppose pop-ups, or housing extensions above the original height. [20] After winning office and in the wake of community protests, he said was not "outright" opposed to pop-ups and wanted to balance residents' concerns with developer's interests. [21]

In 2016, Todd announced his support for Mayor Bowser's plan to open a homeless shelter in Ward 4, hoping that it would be used as a catalyst for economic development. [23] [24]

After a building was condemned in Ward 4 and its residents forced to vacate the property, Todd was described as not helpful. His office did not provide an immediate response. [25]

In June 2016, Todd opposed campaign finance reform legislation. [26] Introduced by Council chair Phil Mendelson , the law would have taken people who donated to political campaigns out of consideration from receiving government contracts valued at more than $100,000. [26]

In April 2017, the DC Auditor announced that it was conducting an investigation into the financing of Todd's 2015 special election campaign. Todd was unable to substantiate donations of over $100,000 and failed to report $34,000 in donations. While the investigation was underway during the 2016 general election, it was not disclosed. [37]

Second council term

Todd was sworn into office for a full four-year council term at noon on January 2, 2017. [38]

On January 20 2017, Todd attended the parade for the inauguration of Donald Trump . [39] [40]

Campaign finance controversy

After Todd's 2015 special election win, the District government's Office of Campaign Finance (OCF) audited the Todd campaign as part of its regular after-election audit of all campaigns. The audit, completed in early January 2016, discovered that the campaign failed to report more than $34,000 in contributions. The campaign also received more than $69,000 in contributions for which it had no records indicating who made the donation. For reasons which remain unclear, the OCF agreed to keep its preliminary audit confidential until the 2015 Todd special election campaign answered the report's allegations. According to the OCF, the 2015 Todd campaign repeatedly declined to provide it with the information and answers it sought, even as Todd campaigned for a full, four-year term on the council during a hotly contest June 14, 2016, Democratic primary. Todd's 2015 campaign staff said they provided all the information the OCF asked for, but the OCF's "antiquated" technology was unable to accept or integrate the information. OCF found the campaign failed to adequately document another $100,000 in contributions. [41]

Todd won the June 14 primary with 49 percent of the vote, without voters knowing about the report's preliminary findings. His closest challenger, Leon T. Andrews, Jr., had 40.8 percent. Todd was unopposed in the general election. Once more, voters remained in the dark about the report's finding.

On April 7, 2017, about 16 months after the preliminary report was issued, The Washington Post made the report's draft findings public.

The Washington Post reported on April 17, 2017 that 136 contributors to Todd's 2016 reelection campaign could not be identified by name. The donors contributed about $18,000 to the 2016 effort. Another 1,200 of the 1,400 contributors to the campaign provided no employer information, as required by law. OCF had previously identified more than $7,000 in contributions to Todd's 2016 campaign which were illegal or questionable under D.C. campaign finance laws, and the Todd campaign returned those donations. However, About $5,000 in donations were over the legal limit of $500 per individual or business. The 2016 reelection campaign accepted these donations, and did not return them. OCF officials said they had previously identified numerous questionable donations and expenditures by the Todd 2016 reelection campaign, but many of these had been resolved and the agency was still in the process of obtaining more information. [41]

Personal life

Todd lives in the Petworth neighborhood of Ward 4 and attends St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. [27] He is single. [16]

Committees

Todd serves on the following committees: [27]

  • Chair — Committee on Government Operations
  • Committee of the Whole
  • Committee on Human Services
  • Committee on Transportation and the Environment
  • Committee on Health

Election results

2015

2015 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 4, Special election [29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Todd 4,584 43
Democratic Renee L. Bowser 2,311 21
Democratic Leon T. Andrews, Jr. 1,613 15
Democratic Dwayne M. Toliver 1,297 12
Democratic Ron Austin 185 2
Democratic Edwin W. Powell 132 1
Democratic Judi Jones 119 1
Democratic Acqunetta Anderson 117 1
Democratic Bobvala Tengen 91 1
Democratic Gwenellen Corley-Bowman 73 1
Democratic Douglass Sloan 55 1
Socialist Workers Glova Scott 53 0
Democratic Pedro Rubio, Jr. 37 0
Democratic Write-in 38 0

2016

2016 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 4, Democratic Primary [42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Todd 8,145 49.33
Democratic Leon T. Andrews, Jr. 6,738 40.81
Democratic Ron Austin 574 3.48
Democratic Calvin H. Gurley 509 3.08
2016 Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 4, General Election [43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brandon Todd 35,100 85.5
Write-in 1,813 4.42