“Don’t forget about me,” Danette heckled from the back of the crowd as Cropp talked. Danette, 36, is only 5-foot-2, but her voice, gravelly after years of smoking, projected like a cannonball. “What about my children? We got no place to live.”

Surrounded by cameras, Cropp rushed over to Danette, who broke down in tears while telling her story. Cropp, who later lost the mayoral primary to Democratic rival Adrian Fenty, shook Danette’s hand and asked a nearby staff member to help her.

Over the next two months, Danette called one of Cropp’s aides three or four times. She didn’t hear back from him. Eventually, she gave up on the aide and called Cropp’s D.C. Council office. Danette didn’t really think Cropp or any other mayoral candidate could solve her problem. But she didn’t want to let city officials off the hook.

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