Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander isn’t the only one waiting to see if ex-Mayor Vince Gray will run for her D.C. Council seat. Kenneth Ellerbe, Gray’s former fire chief, is planning to enter the race as well—-as long as his former boss isn’t getting in the race. (Or maybe not—-see update below).

“I’m waiting for the mayor to make a decision,” Ellerbe says.

An Ellerbe-Alexander race would mean a showdown between two former Gray associates. After filling Gray’s Ward 7 Council seat with his blessing when he became Council chairman, Alexander has since moved towards Muriel Bowser‘s Green Team. Bowser donors hosted a fundraiser for Alexander Wednesday night.  

Alexander has seen Ellerbe coming since at least last year, when she tweeted that his visits to Ward 7 community meetings “make you go hmmm!” In June 2014, she claimed that Ellerbe had told her he wouldn’t run.

If does become a candidate, Ellerbe’s foibles as fire chief should provide ammo for the Alexander, who memorably asked one of her last Council opponents about his arrest for soliciting prostitution. Under Ellerbe, the D.C. Fire and EMS Department saw labor strife, slow response times, and ambulances that burst into flames.

For his part, Ellerbe is sticking with Gray.

“I wouldn’t be Chief Ellerbe if it wasn’t for Vince Gray,” Ellerbe says. “And I think I owe him that amount of respect.”

Update, 4:15 p.m.: After LL’s post ran, Ellerbe called up with a bunch of caveats. Now, Ellerbe says he might still run against Gray, and he might not run at all even if Gray stays out of the race.

“I want to look at the optics,” says Ellerbe.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery