The Washington Post editorial board endorsed Ward 4 councilmember Muriel Bowser in the mayor’s race Thursday night, meaning the city will get another chance to find out if the Post endorsement means anything in District elections.
Bowser’s campaign, at least, thinks it means a lot. Delighted by the endorsement, which came out during the Woman’s National Democratic Club forum, Bowser campaign manager Bo Shuff scrolled through the article on his phone to quote favorite passages. “It ends any question about how many people are in this race in a competitive way,” Shuff says.
Mayor Vince Gray, at least, isn’t convinced he’s in a two-person race just yet. “Do people have to vote, or are we just mailing it in?” Gray says.
Explaining the pick, the editorial board dinged Gray for questions about his 2010 campaign, Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells for “livable, walkable” sloganeering, and At-Large councilmember Vincent Orange for demagoguery. Ward 2 councilmember Jack Evans seems to have come in second place for the endorsement, but alas, he couldn’t convince Metro issues editorial board impresario Jo Ann Armao and the rest of her colleagues that he had much of a vision for the District. Bowser, on the other hand, is praised for her ethics bill, her focus on improving middle schools, and—-this being the Post ed board—-being Adrian Fenty‘s protege.
The Post editorial board also quickly dispatched outsider candidates Reta Jo Lewis and Andy Shallal, describing them as weak on city issues. They reserved a special needle for the Busboys and Poets owner, writing that Shallal’s “main focus seems to be to decry the economic forces that have contributed to his business’s success.”
Fine, Shallal’s no fan of the Post editorial board either. “Usually the Post endorsement is a kiss of death,” Shallal says. “It’s a for-sure no-win.”
Also in the “kiss of death” camp: Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies, who points to the ed board’s spotty success record carrying a winner across the finish line. (In 2010, the paper endorsed Fenty). “I’ve think they’ve made their agenda clear,” Thies says.
If there’s an agenda behind the pick, it’s not one that’s bothering the Bowser campaign’s Shuff. “If [Thies] doesn’t want it, I’ll take it,” Shuff says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery