Lateefah Williams
Lateefah Williams

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After experiencing a series of candidate entrances and exits, the race to be the District’s first elected attorney general is starting to take shape, with both public policy lawyer Lateefah Williams and defense attorney Karl Racine picking up nominating petitions today.

Williams, a 37-year-old policy attorney who grew up in Fort Washington, Md., previously worked as the president of the LGBT-focused Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.

Her candidacy was initially in doubt after she worried that her resume, which includes work for nonprofit OMB Watch (now known as the Center for Effective Government) and a union that represents Metro workers, wouldn’t meet the statutory requirement that an attorney general candidate work be “actively engaged” as an attorney for five out of 10 years before running. With the D.C. Board of Elections declining to rule on her eligibility until she collects 3,000 nominating signatures, Williams says she’s decided to go ahead and run.

“I do feel that I’m qualified,” Williams says. “I typically just generally have a cautious personality.”

Williams, who also writes a column for the Washington Blade, says that she’d use the attorney general position to work on issues like disputed bus parking in Ward 5’s Ivy City neighborhood. Williams says she has “concerns” about Attorney General Irv Nathan‘s court fight over the budget autonomy referendum that passed in 2013.

“I think right now we’ve had attorney generals in the past that have focused on representing the District government, and not necessarily the people that comprise the District,” Williams says.

Racine, a partner at Venable LLP whom LL readers may best remember as a defense attorney for disgraced ex-councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., hasn’t responded to emails and phone calls about his run. One-time attorney general candidate Mark H. Tuohey dropped out of the race this week to endorse Racine.

Photo courtesy Lateefah Williams