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In 1998, Ward 7’s Barbara and Paul Savage saw mayoral material in an unlikely place, helping found the movement to draft then-Chief Financial Officer Tony Williams for mayor. Now the Savages are throwing their support behind another candidacy so crazy it just might work: At-Large Councilmember and mayoral hopeful David Catania.

“They say, ‘Well, David Catania gets angry,” Paul Savage says. “You know what? I wish we had 12 other people on this Council who get angry about things that affect people in this city, like gentrification.”

Savage and his wife, civic bigwigs in the Hillcrest neighborhood, also helped push fellow Hillcrester Vince Gray‘s early political career from the Ward 7 seat to the D.C. Council chairmanship. The Savages don’t always strike gold—-in 2006, they backed Linda Cropp‘s unsuccessful mayoral bid.

“There’s not a candidate running who’s ever run for office in the District that wouldn’t love to have the endorsement of Paul and Barbara,” says Catania campaign manager Ben Young.


After lamenting what he sees as the pushing of African-American residents into Wards 7 and 8, Paul Savage says he hopes the District will follow the lead of another majority African-American city, Detroit, and break with tradition in electing a white mayor.

“We’ve had black mayors from here to yonder, and the truth of the matter is we don’t have a strong fighter on the Council other than David Catania,” Savage says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery