Natalie Williams

Now that Marion Barry has been buried, candidates looking to replace him in the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat can start campaigning out in the open. As of this afternoon, eight candidates had already requeste papers to get on April’s special election ballot. Meanwhile, six candidates angling for Near Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s Ward 4 seat have also picked up petitions.

The list of Barry’s would-be replacements ranges from a “who’s who” to a “who’s that?” Ward 8 Democrats president Natalie Williams, a former Barry spokeswoman-turned-bitter primary foe, can likely bring some firepower to the race. Ditto LaRuby May, a community activist and former high-ranking Bowser campaign staffer who can draw on the ward organization she ran for Bowser.

Also competing are Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Greta FullerDarrell Gaston, Anthony Muhammad, frequent office-seeker and ex-ANC member Sandra SeegarsLeonard Watson, and Edwina Montaque.

The race in Ward 4 began with tragedy last week with the surprising death of candidate A.J. Cooper. It’ll likely be dominated by Bowser favorite Brandon Todd, who made his candidacy official today by picking up the nominating petitions. Also competing are former at-large hopeful Pedro Rubio, former delegate candidate and campaign operative Doug Sloan, ANC member Acqunetta AndersonBruce Morrison, and Bobvala Tengen.

The candidate roster will probably continue to grow, especially in Ward 8, where Barry’s grip on the seat built up a backlog of hopefuls. After Barry’s final memorial service Saturday, one east of the river wag predicted to LL that the race would amount to “the greatest show on earth.”

But the fields can also be winnowed, too. Each candidate needs to turn in 500 valid signatures by Jan. 28 to make the April 28 ballot.

Correction: Six candidates have declared for the Ward 4 seat, not seven as originally stated.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery