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With the Winter Olympics over, the Mayoral Power Rankings are the only spectacle left that combines both influence-peddling and tests of endurance. 

1. Jack Evans

What: Statistically tied with Tommy Wells for third place in the NBC4/WAMU/Informer poll, Evans is cutting loose. Still, he remains unable to resist a downer policy speech at a debate, even Wednesday night’s live broadcast at WAMU. As he put another feel-good proposal to sleep, Evans remarked that he feels like a skunk at a garden party. Nobody wants to vote for a skunk!

Why: LL is bracing for controversy with his top two picks today. The new polling shows Wells and Evans, absent some campaign “game changer” (urgh), with chances of winning approaching zero. But their roughly equal, double-digit shares of likely voters put them in the kingmaker spot. With second-choice voters breaking primarily for Bowser and Evans gunning for second place, how strong a race Evans and Wells run could decide the election.

Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.

2. Tommy Wells

What: Wells joined the councilmembers calling for fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe‘s resignation.

Why: See above. Also, happy birthday.

Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.

3. Muriel Bowser

What: Bowser’s polling shows her exactly where she’s claimed to be—-breaking out ahead of Wells and Evans.

Why: Still, Bowser’s surprisingly clumsy on ethics issue. Multiple WAMU debate panelists hammered her on campaign finance reform, and she didn’t do much to push them back. Bowser’s claim that Wells is hypocritical for refusing corporate contributions while still accepting contributions from those corporations’ owners remains transparent.

Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.

4. Vince Gray

What: With Bowser closing in, Gray was the choice for 28 percent of likely voters in Tuesday’s poll.

Why: How could the guy leading in the polls be fourth in the power rankings? More than a month after the Post poll, Gray is still struggling to translate the sense that the District is doing well into a poll boost. Requests to turn the page aside, Gray still has trouble when he’s asked about the 2010 shadow campaign.

Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.

5. Andy Shallal

What: Shallal’s relaxed attitude about voting in mayoral elections that’s he’s not a candidate in is old news, and his recently released education white paper gives more heft to his school reform critique. And, in case you were wondering, Shallal tweets that he has no plans to drop out and back Bowser.

Why: Plus, “America’s No. 1 Populist” Jim Hightower is accusing progressives of sleeping on Shallal’s candidacy.

Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.

6. Vincent Orange

What: Orange tried gamely to get as much talking time as the leading four candidates at the WAMU debate, without much success. Gray dissed his “learning to read/reading to learn” catchphrase in the Informer. And Orange’s campaign ordered 5,000 orange wristbands, apparently unaware that the guy who popularized rubber awareness bracelets isn’t doing so hot.

Why: Tuesday’s poll revealed that Orange has the enormous unfavorable score of 50 percent. Nevertheless, Orange came off as pretty likable in his turn in the Post‘s mayoral profile series.

Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.

7. Reta Jo Lewis

What: Lewis got a surprising amount of speaking time in the WAMU debate, which should give her a little more of the name recognition she badly needs. But the new figures still show her hovering just above Carlos Allen for last place.

Why: LL has been fascinated lately by Lewis’ end game, whatever it is. Speculate in the comments.

Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.

Honorable Mentions: WAMU debate questioner Kavitha Cardoza, who pressed candidates to actually answer questions. 

Photos by Darrow Montgomery