Budget autonomy plaintiff Phil Mendelson
Budget autonomy plaintiff Phil Mendelson

Well, that’s that. The effort to hold the District’s first attorney general election in 2014 per a successful 2010 ballot initiative is over, and the election will be held in 2018.

After stumbling along in an unsuccessful legal fight, the 2014 election’s last hope lay in legislation moving the vote to later this year. Now that’s done too, with D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson withdrawing the bill  at today’s Council meeting.

Mendelson’s bill, originally proposed by Ward 3’s Mary Cheh, would have moved the attorney general vote to November’s general election. To get around concerns about the attorney general race becoming nonpartisan, candidates would have chosen their own party designation, rather than competing in a primary for it.

In a letter to the Council, Vince Gray said he was against it—-and so, it turned out, was just about everyone else. At this morning’s Council breakfast, Ward 2’s Jack Evans accused Mendelson of carrying water for some unnamed other party by bringing up a bill Evans called “very confusing and crazy.” Mendelson’s claims to be following voters rang false, Evans said, after he helped Evans overturn voter-mandated term limits in 2001.

“Phil, the votes aren’t here to pass this,” Evans said. “Why are you bringing this up again?”

With even usual elected-attorney-general supporter Kenyan McDuffie turning on the bill—-“I think the chairman’s trying to get it done at the expense of getting it right,” McDuffie said—-Mendelson decided to withdraw the bill instead of letting it be voted down.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery