In Powerful D.C. Ward, Democrats Move to Oust Councilman Over Crime Surge

Before a standing-room-only crowd in an office building in Southeast Washington on a recent night, Tonya Fulkerson, a veteran Democratic fund-raiser, described the shootout that broke out last year in broad daylight on her street blocks from the U.S. Capitol.

“People were ducking behind cars to not get hit by bullets,” she said.

These days, Ms. Fulkerson told the crowd, she walks around her neighborhood with more vigilance, and no longer waits in the car if her husband stops at the local corner store, for fear of getting carjacked or robbed.

And she has taken up a new side hustle, using skills and connections developed over decades in national politics, helping steer a campaign to oust her councilman, Charles Allen, a Democrat who has staunchly backed progressive criminal justice overhauls and whom she holds responsible for the crime plaguing her neighborhood and others throughout the city.

Flanking her at the meeting, alongside signs saying “Recall Charles Allen,” were other prominent Democratic political operatives who call Capitol Hill home and who have joined the push, bringing with them résumés that include stints on multiple congressional and presidential campaigns.

Moses Mercado, the recall’s field organizer, was a superdelegate for Barack Obama who has lived in the city for 31 years. Rich Masters, a 28-year Capitol Hill resident who was an aide to former Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, is running communications. Ms. Fulkerson’s clients have included Senator Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat and majority leader, and the Senate Majority PAC, the party’s main fund-raising arm for Senate campaigns.

So far, she said, the recall effort has raised more than $100,000, and volunteers have deployed around Mr. Allen’s Ward 6 in hopes of collecting the 6,144 signatures needed — 10 percent of the population — before its mid-August deadline. If achieved, a recall election would take place on Oct. 9.

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