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For LL’s money, there’s no faster way to spread a rumor than to hold a press conference denying it. But that didn’t stop Marion C. Barry from organizing one this afternoon to insist, contrary to rumors, that he isn’t dropping out of the Ward 8 special election to replace his late father.

Make no mistake, says the younger Barry: He’s still in it. Barry blames the rumor that he’s leaving on rival campaigns, although he won’t say which of the ten remaining candidates he suspects.

“This is the time where all the treachery comes out,” Barry said outside an early voting location at Judiciary Square.

Does the need to insist that he’s still in the race bode ill for Barry’s candidacy? LL doesn’t remember, say, Muriel Bowser claiming on the eve of last year’s primary victory needing to claim that she was still in the race. But Barry insists that, despite the hassle, the rumor is good news, “a sign of desperation” from opponents afraid of his success.

 Barry hosted a recent meeting of candidates interested in uniting against Bowser favorite LaRuby May at his Anacostia home. The confab eventually helped lead to the exit of two candidates, who dropped out of the race last week to endorse Barry frenemy Trayon White.

Barry field director Carl Thomas has his own theories about who’s behind the rumor.

“If I were a betting man, my money would be where the money is,” Thomas said, but wouldn’t elaborate.

More intriguingly, Thomas claimed that Barry’s rivals have tried to “set up” his candidate, a perhaps accidental echo of the elder Barry’s most famous phrase. Thomas refused to elaborate on the claim, and Barry said he didn’t know what Thomas was talking about.

Photo by Will Sommer