Nate Bennett-Fleming

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Marion Barry has been buried for more than a week now, and the race to replace him has finally begun in earnest. Outgoing shadow representative Nate Bennett-Fleming picked up nominating papers today, becoming the latest to join a group of 13 candidates (so far!) racing to replace the mayor-for-life.

Bennett-Fleming, who lost an April primary attempt at Anita Bonds‘ at-large D.C. Council seat, claims that he won’t have trouble facing such a large field.

“I stand out already,” Bennett-Fleming says. “I’m the only person that’s running that’s an elected official.”

Bennett-Fleming isn’t the only new candidate in the race. While eight candidates signed up to run on the first day ballots petitions were available, they’ve since been joined by Karlene Armstead, Angela White, and David J. White.

Bennett-Fleming will also face LaRuby May, Near Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s former Ward 8 coordinator. May tells LL that the campaign apparatus she organized for Bowser is still in place—a formidable asset, even in a ward that didn’t back Bowser in the primary. Already, May says she has the 500 signatures required to make the ballot.

May also has three former councilmembers co-chairing her campaign: ex-chairman Arrington Dixon, and ex-Ward 8 councilmembers Eydie Whittington and Sandy Allen.

“Their endorsement, I think, speaks significantly about my leadership,” May says.

The crowded race could be fractured even further if Barry’s son and heir apparent Christopher Barry tries to take his father’s seat. Appearing at a D.C. Council meeting to accept a ceremonial resolution for the late Ward 8 councilmember, Barry, who’s mulling a run despite a series of criminal charges, said his father’s fight for issues like affordable housing will go on. Hint, hint.

If the younger Barry enters the race, though, he’ll face some (god-)fraternal tension. Barry godson Dennis Harvey, like so many other people, is running too.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery