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Wine bar owner-turned-at-large hopeful Khalid Pitts launched his campaign last night at swanky 14th Street NW bar Black Jack, just blocks away from Pitts’ own Cork Wine Bar.

“It’s going to be a tough fight,” Pitts told supporters as bacon-wrapped oysters and duck confit taco hors d’oeuvres circled the room.

Pitts, a former campaign director with the Service Employees International Union, has won over at least one other 14th St. heavy—-Black Jack owner and oyster impresario Jeff Black, who declared that voting for Pitts was “a vote of confidence for common sense getting back into our city’s government.” Indeed, Pitts sounded more than a little like fellow restaurateur/politician Andy Shallal when he used his restauraunt’s personnel policies as a preview of what he’d do on the Council.

“I was doing paid sick days and the rest before paid sick days was popular,” Pitts says.

Pitts has landed former Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese as his campaign chairman which, if nothing else, should mean buckets and buckets of money in Pitts’ campaign treasury by the June 10 reporting deadline. Facing an enormous field of rivals, Pitts will need it.

“You’ve got to be pretty creative,” Solmonese said.

Photo courtesy of Khalid Pitts