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Ward 2 Councilmember and two-time mayoral candidate Jack Evans just spent 298 days running unsuccessfully for office. Now he’s got some ideas on what needs changing.

On Tuesday, Evans introduced legislation that includes four big changes to city elections. Evans’ bill would move the primary from April to June and establish a separate presidential primary in March to get around federal overseas voting requirements, while also opening primaries to people who aren’t registered with that party.

“I can’t tell you the number of people who were very annoyed that they couldn’t vote in this primary,” Evans says.

Evans’ bill would also reset donors’ maximum spending after a primary, meaning that a donor who gave the maximum $2,000 to a successful mayoral candidate in a primary could donate another $2,000 in the general elections. Evans says the current system favors independent challengers like David Catania, who doesn’t have to spend money in a bruising primary before reaching the general election, over new Democratic nominees like Muriel Bowser.

“She may be tapped out, have nowhere else to go,” Evans says of Bowser’s outreach to donors.

Another part of Evans’ bill should also appeal to candidates, although not to the rare person who loves the District’s interminably long debate schedule. Evans’ bill contains language establishing a debate commission, to which civic groups wanting to host mayoral debates would apply.

“You can’t get to all of them, and then you’re frowned upon because you missed a debate,” Evans tells LL.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery