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Marion Barry‘s endorsement can be a millstone in the parts of town where people didn’t take the mayor-for-life’s post-crack cocaine advice to “get over it.” In 2010, Adrian Fenty fought a losing battle to convince voters that Barry’s support for Vince Gray meant a return of Barry-era government.

Now it’s Muriel Bowser‘s turn to be tied to Barry. In a David Catania mailer sent out late last week, Barry appears in a Bowser shirt along with his promise to “kick David Catania’s ass.”

If you’re a Bowser supporter, maybe that Barry boast pumps you up. But the Catania campaign doesn’t want you to take it that way. On the flip side, the mailer promises that after Catania wins, “on day one, everything changes.”

Catania campaign manager Ben Young says Bowser standing with Barry two weekends ago when he promised again to introduce his foot to Catania’s posterior perfectly describes the race.

“When she stood right besides Marion Barry for the second time and smiled while he hurled invectives at David Catania, it encapsulates what this race is about, which is substance versus business as usual,” Young says.

Bowser spokesman Joaquin McPeek, responding to both the mailer and an anti-Bowser sign of unknown origin, says they amount to a “sign of desperation.”

“We’ve seen negative ads, videos and mailers (four in this past week) coming from Mr. Catania’s campaign,” McPeek writes in an email. “Instead of engaging residents he’d rather engage in political theater.”

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