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Mayoral hopeful Muriel Bowser just turned 42, and for her present, she’d like a check. At a well-attended birthday party/fundraiser in Takoma Thursday night, Bowser accused opponents Carol Schwartz and David Catania of trying to masquerade as the Democratic nominee.

“I’m here to tell you don’t be fooled, I’m the Democrat running for mayor,” Bowser told the crowd.

The birthday candidate was feeling punchy.

“We didn’t support George W. Bush,” Bowser said, alluding to Catania’s heavy fundraising for Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Bowser ran through a series of campaign promises, including improved middle schools and cutting down on crime at the Wilson Building.

She’s so committed to reducing corruption and waste, in fact, that she invited several alleged miscreants to her party to keep an eye on them. Both Phinis Jones, who’s involved in the Park Southern housing complex scandal that Bowser has asked the District’s inspector general to investigate, and Debra G. Rowe, the focus of an investigation of HIV funds waste, made Bowser’s host committee.

Bowser ran through a list of her defeated primary opponents, thanking Councilmembers Jack EvansTommy Wells, and Vincent Orange. To LL’s delight, mayoral also-also-ran Reta Jo Lewis also made Bowser’s shout-out list. Mayor Vince Gray, who’s treated endorsing Bowser like the equivalent of endorsing U.S. Attorney Ron Machen, was nowhere to be found.

Introduced by former Councilmember-turned-birthday party emcee Bill Lightfoot as a “rising star,” Ward 5 Kenyan McDuffie took the stage at one point to endorse Bowser. McDuffie, who curiously waffled in a May radio appearance about whether he was behind his colleague, hit the Democratic gong once again for the candidate.

“She’s got those strong Democratic values we know and love,” McDuffie said.

Bowser’s birthday gave the usual campaign ra-ra a new flair. Bowser acknowledged that some might say she was over the hill, but claimed that only meant she was picking up speed. Ward 3 Democrats boss Shelly Tomkin focused on Bowser’s zodiac sign.

“You know about Leos—king of the jungle,” Tomkin declared. “Queen of the jungle!”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery