Michael Donald Brown

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Mike Brown
Michael Donald Brown.jpg
United States Shadow Senator
from the District of Columbia
Assumed office
January 3, 2007
Serving with Paul Strauss
Preceded byFlorence Pendleton
Personal details
Born (1953-08-05) August 5, 1953 (age 67)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (Before 2014, 2017–present)
Independent (2014–2017)[1]
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BA, MPP)

Michael Donald "Mike" Brown[2] (born August 5, 1953[3]) is the junior United States shadow senator from the District of Columbia since 2007.[4]

As a shadow senator, Brown receives no pay from the government,[5][6] receives no budget from the government,[7][8] and cannot vote on matters before the Senate.[7] While he does not have an office in the United States Capitol or any of the Senate's office buildings, the District's government provides the position with an office in the John A. Wilson Building.[7] Brown lobbies the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives on behalf of the citizens of the District in their attempt to gain full representation in Congress,[9][10] self-determination,[10] and eventually admittance to the Union as a state.[10][11] As shadow senator, Brown also works with the District's delegate, mayor, and council to advance the interest of local residents on federal issues. Brown was a member of the Democratic Party,[11] until he changed his party registration to independent in 2014.[1] He re-joined the Democratic Party in 2017.

Brown is known colloquially as "white Mike" to distinguish him from Michael A. Brown, another Washington D.C. politician who shares the same name. Brown's opponent in one race suggested that some Washingtonians might be voting for Michael D. Brown thinking they were voting for Michael A. Brown; Michael D. Brown strenuously denied this possibility.[12]


In 2018, Brown became irate that his delegation was not included in the D.C. Council's financing bill. After yelling and disrupting the proceedings, Brown quieted down after he was told that he would be forcibly removed from the premises.[13]

2006 election[edit]

Brown in 2007

Brown ran for the position of shadow senator in 2006, using campaign posters with the slogan "the last Shadow Senator you'll ever need" and registering the domain name "shadowsenator.com" for his website.[14][15] Brown opposed a bill to give the District a full representative in the House of Representatives because it did not make the District a state.[14] In the Democratic primary in September, he received 73 percent of the vote, defeating his opponent, Ward 8 activist Philip Pannell. Incumbent shadow senator Florence Pendleton was not on the primary ballot after Pannell challenged her nominating ballots. Of her required 2,000 ballots, only 1,559 were found to be valid. She campaigned as a write-in, but received only 2 percent of the vote.[16] Pannell blamed his loss at least partly on voter confusion, since the better-known Michael A. Brown was running for mayor at the same time; others, including Michael A. Brown himself, agreed.[17]

In the November general election, Brown received 86 percent of the votes, while Joyce Robinson-Paul, a member of the D.C. Statehood Green Party, received 14 percent.[18] There was no Republican candidate running for the position.

2010 election[edit]

Brown was a candidate for at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia.[19][20] Other Democrats running for the same position included Clark Ray and incumbent Phil Mendelson,[19] who was comfortably re-elected.[21] Concerned that many voters would confuse which Michael Brown was on the ballot, Mendelson sent out mailers with pictures of both politicians.[12]

2012 election[edit]

Brown sought reelection to his position as shadow senator in 2012. He had the endorsements of District progressive organizations [22] and local Democratic party groups.[23] Brown was challenged by a wealthy District landlord Peter A. Ross who self-funded his campaign and outspent Brown by a more than 200:1 ratio. Ross's campaign had to overcome news reports noting a past conviction for federal tax fraud[24] and reports that he failed to pay his District real estate taxes.[25] Brown won reelection.

2018 election[edit]

Brown faced a competitive primary challenge from Andria Thomas, defeating her by 51% to 47.3%. He was re-elected in the general election with 88.2% of the vote.

Election history[edit]


2006 Shadow Senator, D.C., Democratic Primary Election[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael D. Brown 62,415 73
Democratic Philip Pannell 21,552 25
  write-in 1,363 2
2006 Shadow Senator, D.C., General Election[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael D. Brown 90,336 84
D.C. Statehood Green Joyce Robinson-Paul 15,352 14
  write-in 1,647 2


2012 Shadow Senator, D.C., Democratic Primary Election[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael D. Brown 34,342 69
Democratic Pete Ross 14,568 29
  write-in 1,046 2
2012 Shadow Senator, D.C., General Election[29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael D. Brown 206,911 80
D.C. Statehood Green David Schwartzman 26,614 10
Republican Nelson F. Rimensnyder 23,935 9
  write-in 1,896 1

Personal life[edit]

Brown was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved to Montgomery County, Maryland, as a teenager.[6][14] Brown received a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in public policy from the University of Maryland.[10][11] Brown has lived in the District since 1984,[6] and he currently lives in the neighborhood of American University Park.[11] Brown is also the president[11] and founder[10] of Horizon Communications Corp., which provides direct-mail services to political organizations and non-profit organizations.[6]

Race for DC Council[edit]

In 2014, Brown ran for a seat on the Council of the District of Columbia as an at-large member. He finished 3rd, but the top two finishers won the seats.

2014 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia, At-Large Seats[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Anita Bonds 85,575 24
Independent Elissa Silverman 41,300 12
Independent Michael D. Brown 28,614 8
Independent Robert White 22,198 6
Independent Courtney R. Snowden 19,551 5
D.C. Statehood Green Eugene Puryear 12,525 4
Independent Graylan Scott Hagler 10,539 3
Independent Khalid Pitts 10,392 3
Republican Marc Morgan 9,947 3
Independent Brian Hart 8,933 3
Independent Kishan Putta 6,135 2
Independent Calvin Gurley 4,553 1
Independent Eric J. Jones 4,405 1
Libertarian Frederick Steiner 3,766 1
Independent Wendell Felder 2,964 1
  write-in 1,472 0


  1. ^ a b Sommer, Will (June 13, 2014). "Shadow Sen. Michael Brown Declares for At-Large Race". Washington City Paper.
  2. ^ Jaffee, Harry (September 6, 2010). "Doggett comes back to sort out D.C.'s black, white, Brown problem". The Washington Examiner.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Voters Guide 2006 Supplement" (PDF). The Washington Informer. 2006-09-24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-25.
  4. ^ "DC Government Resource Center: Congressional Delegation (Shadow)". Government of the District of Columbia. Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  5. ^ Chibbaro, Jr., Lou (2006-09-01). "Gay Pannell outpaces rival in race for shadow Senate seat". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  6. ^ a b c d Ponder, Meredith (2006-09-27). "Shadow delegates: Emerging from the dark". The Georgetown Independent. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  7. ^ a b c Copeland, Libby (2007-01-16). "Shadow Delegation Toils in Obscurity for D.C.'s Day in the Sun". The Washington Post. p. C01. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  8. ^ "Offices on the Ballot: United States Senator and Representative". District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. Archived from the original on 2008-04-02. Retrieved 2008-04-07.
  9. ^ Williams, Mesha (2007-02-21). "D.C. voting rights: Will the District ever become a state?". American Observer. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Profile for Michael D. Brown". Vote USA.org. 2006.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Election Profiles: Michael D. Brown". The Washington Post. 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  12. ^ a b Peter Jamison (June 14, 2018). "Is this D.C. politician benefiting from a case of mistaken identity?". Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Fenit Nirappil (February 6, 2018). "D.C. Council sends public campaign finance bill to Bowser, setting up showdown". Washington Post. Washington DC. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Holley, Joe. "The Race for November". The Washington Post. September 3, 2006.
  15. ^ "Another Michael Brown in DC Politics". DCist. 2006-08-30. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  16. ^ Montgomery, Lori; Silverman, Elissa (2006-08-03). "Pro-Slots Group Is Sailing On". The Washington Post. p. DZ02. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
  17. ^ Woodlee, Yolanda (2006-09-16). "Two Michael Browns Stir Confusion at the Polls: Little-Known Candidate Wins Shadow Senator Race". The Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
  18. ^ "Election Profile: D.C. Shadow U.S. Senator". The Washington Post. 2006. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  19. ^ a b Chibbaro Jr, Lou (June 24, 1010). "Ray faces new opponent in primary race". The Washington Blade.
  20. ^ Orvetti, P.J. (August 6, 2010). "The Other Michael Brown". WRC-TV. NBC Universal, Inc.
  21. ^ Mathis, Sommer (September 15, 2010). "D.C. Council Election Updates: Could Michael D. Brown beat Phil Mendelson?". TBD.com.
  22. ^ DC Primary Endorsements, DC for Democracy, March 2012.
  23. ^ Meeting endorsement votes Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, Ward Three Democratic Committee, March 2012.
  24. ^ DC Shadow Senate candidate convicted of failing to pay taxes, Farraguter, February 21, 2012.
  25. ^ Notice of Real Property Sale, Office of Tax Revenue for the Government of the District of Columbia, September 2010.
  26. ^ "Certified Results" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. September 12, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  27. ^ "Certified Results" (PDF). District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. September 12, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  28. ^ "Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. April 14, 2012. Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  29. ^ "Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. April 14, 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  30. ^ "General Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. December 3, 2014. Archived from the original on December 20, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Florence Pendleton
Democratic nominee for U.S. Shadow Senator from the District of Columbia
(Seat 1)

2006, 2012, 2018
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Florence Pendleton
U.S. Shadow Senator (Seat 1) from the District of Columbia
Served alongside: Paul Strauss