Anybody can sign up to run for office. But only some people have the organization and winter coats required to gather 500 valid signatures in the middle of January. This afternoon’s ballot deadline has cut the field in both the Ward 4 and Ward 8 special elections, while still leaving voters in each ward with more than a dozen candidates to pick from.

After collecting signatures for the April 28 race, the candidates face a potentially more daunting challenge: ten days of petition challenges from rivals looking to clear out the field. This should be especially daunting for candidates in Ward 8, where even Advisory Neighborhood Commission races can become targets for bitter signatures fights.

In the Ward 4 race to replace Muriel Bowser, a field that once included 20 people, 15 candidates  managed to turn in signatures. Bowser favorite Brandon Todd turned in enough signatures; ditto former at-large hopeful Pedro Rubio, failed delegate candidate Doug Sloan, and grocery union favorite Renee L. Bowser.

Also making it past signature collection: Acqunetta Anderson, Leon T. Andrews Jr., Ron Austin, Gwenellen Corley-Bowman, Chrysanthe A. Courniotes, Judi Jones, Bruce Morrison, Edwin W. Powell, Glova Scott, Bobvala Tengen, and Dwayne M. Toliver.

In Ward 8, the most closely watched candidates all turned in signatures, including Marion Barry son Christopher Barry, ex-Bowser staffer LaRuby MayVince Gray pick Sheila Bunn, and Ward 8 Democrats president Natalie Williams.

They’ll be joined on the pallot, pending ballot challenges, by Jauhar Abraham, Stuart Anderson, Karlene Armstead, Nate Bennett Fleming, Greta Fuller, Eugene D. Kinlow, Anthony Muhammad, Genora Akosua Reed, Sandra Seegars, Keita Vanterpool, Leonard Watson Sr., and Trayon White.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery