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Talk about a turnaround. After endorsing Vince Gray, then ditching him over shadow campaign financier Jeff Thompson‘s guilty plea, the Northwest Current is now urging readers to consider voting for Muriel Bowser because she has the best chance at stopping Gray.

In a new editorial in this week’s Current (jump to p. 8), the paper admits that Bowser is slim on legislative accomplishments beyond her ethics bill, but says she’s the best hope for avoiding a second Gray term. (In its first endorsement, the paper had said her “only real weakness” was “her lack of extensive managerial experience,” which the Current suggested she could address by staying on the Council.)

“Unfortunately, given the likelihood of a split tally, we fear a vote for anyone other than Ms. Bowser might help Mr. Gray prevail,” the new editorial reads.

For voters who can’t stomach Bowser, the paper recommends Ward 2 Councilmember Jack EvansTommy Wells, meanwhile, is disqualified because he talked trash about other councilmembers during his endorsement meeting.

While the Current‘s backing strategic voting for Bowser, Wells is apparently worried enough that he’ll lose voters to her that he emailed supporters yesterday telling them not to pick Bowser because of her higher poll numbers.

“This isn’t the same as backing a team you don’t like because it might get you another win on your bracket,” Wells writes. “This isn’t that kind of ball game. “

Photo by Darrow Montgomery