Late Friday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., released a statement saying he had just learned about the two D.C. autonomy bills that Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, told CQ Roll Call about on Thursday.
The man who brought the news to the Nevada Democrat's attention, according to the statement, is former Reid deputy Darrel Thompson, who just so happens to be in the final days of a competitive race for the Ward 6 D.C. Council seat. D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss first alerted CQ Roll Call to the bills on Wednesday night in a text message from Begich's 52nd birthday party, and a story appeared on Roll Call's website at 1:20 p.m. on Thursday. Nevertheless, Reid was effusive in his praise for his former staffer:
"Darrel Thompson has brought it to my attention that Senator Begich is prepared to introduce legislation next month that would provide budget and legislative autonomy for the District of Columbia. The bill is deserving of support from the full Senate and I know Darrel has spoken with Senator Begich to make sure this bill moves forward. "As a long-time advocate for DC budget autonomy and statehood, Darrel knows how to work with Congress on behalf of the District and I hope Senator Begich and the subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations and the District of Columbia will move this bill quickly."
Darrel Thompson quickly issued a statement, characterizing Begich's legislation as great proof of the work he could do for D.C.
"As a former deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, this is an example of how I will work with Congress to advocate on behalf of the District," Thompson said.
Begich added to the full court press for the Ward 6 candidate in a statement circulated by the Thompson team.
"I look forward to working with Darrel Thompson when he is a DC Councilmember to bring this bill forward in the Subcommittee on Emergency Management, Intergovernmental Relations and the District of Columbia, which I chair. I’ve known and worked with Darrel Thompson for many years and I know he believes this bill is long overdue for the District," Begich said.