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Mayoral hopeful Jack Evans isn’t ready to let rival Muriel Bowser claim the title of leading challenger to Vince Gray just yet. After Evans showed up on a quiet commercial strip in Bowser’s ward last week to criticize her economic record, Bowser’s D.C. Council office shot back that the “stunt” only proved that Evans didn’t know about neighborhoods outside of his own Georgetown.

Evans responded to Bowser’s jab today, accusing her of referencing the neighborhood where he lives with what amount to divisive “code words.”

“Exactly what does Ms. Bowser imply by saying I have no knowledge of neighborhoods outside of Georgetown?” Evans asked rhetorically this afternoon.

Evans, in a conference call with reporters that was billed as bringing “substance” to the mayoral race,  went on to ask voters to “reject the Bowser approach of dividing us against ourselves.” Still, Evans wouldn’t say what message he thinks Bowser is trying to send with her “code words,” insisting that Bowser should answer that question herself.

Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff declined to respond to Evans’ remarks since he hadn’t listened to the call himself.

Evans, who spent the rest of the call talking up his own economic record in comparison with Bowser’s, denied that the call was a sign of his desperation as Bowser pulls away from him in polls. Evans described the Democratic primary race as coming down to Bowser, himself, and Gray, saying that rival Tommy Wells, whom he polled almost even with in a poll released last week, doesn’t have the campaign resources to win.

Evans’ attempt to respond to Bowser did earn one response. Responding to tweets about the conference call, Wells campaign manager Chebon Marshall disputed Evans’ characterization of the race.

“If I had spent twice as much as my opponent and were still tied, I think I would be more careful making such insults,” Marshall writes in an email to LL.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery