Happy Valentine’s Day, readers. To express his affection, LL got you some Mayoral Power Rankings.
1. Tommy Wells What: Wells benefited from a series of Wells-friendly news breaks: the Ward 3 Democrats forum, the American University forum, and a nearly perfect score from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance.
At the forums, Wells used friendly audiences to work a new line that’s meant to make the good-government issues he’s well-positioned on more relatable. Vince Gray, Wells says, is distracted by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen—-and that’s why the fire department has problems. The District could have spent money it gave to Jeff Thompson‘s company on affordable housing, but now homeless families are sent to Maryland hotels instead.
Wells packages his new angle on ethics in his new stump speech line that corrupt politicians are “just as dangerous” as criminals with guns on the street, which, questionable accuracy aside, does have some pith to it.
Why: Plus, Wells told some college students he smoked pot, which is always good for a boost. Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.
2. Vince Gray
What: Between the snow and Marion Barry‘s illness, Gray’s schedule kept him out of debates this week, which may have been lucky for the incumbent as Wells decided to push harder on ethics. Still, Gray scored an endorsement from the SEIU and a perfect rating on gay rights issues. Why: Even better for the mayor’s chances, though, the Department of Public Works kept the streets as clean as 11 inches of snow would allow. Power Rankings Momentum: Stalled, but not snowed under.
3. Muriel Bowser
What: Bowser skipped the Ward 3 and American debates this week due to other events, including a Council committee hearing, but she did make it out Thursday to canvass in terrible weather. Why: Wells’ new surge and Bowser’s relative silence kept Bowser from solidifying her position as the leading anti-Gray candidate this week. Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.
4. Jack Evans
What: Evans unveiled his education plan and got a positive reception at the Ward 3 forum. Also, his wife suggested that she has a great margarita recipe, but declined to reveal the “secret ingredient.”
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Evans doesn’t get his fifth-place position on last week’s rankings. “I fail to see why my ranking gets decreased because I don’t criticize the mayor,” the Ward 2 councilmember tells LL.
Why: Evans’ thick cash fund comes into play this week, with the campaign sending out its first mailer.
Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.
5. Reta Jo Lewis
What: Taking a lesson from former boss Bill “The Comeback Kid” Clinton, Reta Jo Lewis has risen from last place this week. Lewis’ newfound success in the rankings comes entirely on the fact that she stumbled less than usual in this week’s debates.
Her rhetorical tactic of tallying up her elected opponents’ years in office is so good, in fact, that fellow outsider Andy Shallal has started using it himself. Why: And yet, Lewis still lacks anything that suggests she’ll come in fourth in the primary, much less first. Power Rankings Momentum: Rising.
6. Vincent Orange
What: Vincent Orange finally has a professional (if busy) campaign website, putting to rest worries that Orange’s URL bandit would make that impossible. Still, someone in Orange’s campaign couldn’t resist engaging with the impostor.
— Orange for Mayor (@Orange4Mayor) February 13, 2014
Why: Orange usually dodges questions about whether he would support a ban on corporate contributions by saying that any prohbition would have to be tied to a ban on councilmembers holding outside jobs. It’s not perfect, but it does make things uncomfortable for Evans, who works for law firm Patton Boggs.
At the AU debate, Orange opted for a different line. Instead of diverting questions about his campaign’s LLC bundlers, he insisted that their “measly little contribution” means nothing to him, something LL finds hard to believe about Orange (or any politician, for that matter).
Power Rankings Momentum: Stalled.
7. Andy Shallal
What: Shallal took a tumble this week when Ward 3 debate moderator Mark Plotkin revealed that Shallal skipped the 2010 mayoral primary and five other District elections. Why: Shallal says he didn’t vote in 2010 he didn’t feel motivated by the candidates, a claim that clashes with his previous claim that he wanted Vince Gray to oust Adrian Fenty that year. Who knows what to believe anymore? Power Rankings Momentum: Falling.
Honorable Mentions: Marion Barry, for getting into the mayor’s race even from his hospital bed.
Photos by Darrow Montgomery