Marion Barry endorsed Vince Gray in the 2010 mayor’s race, but Gray isn’t guaranteed a repeat. Barry tells LL that he’s judging each of the candidates based on how willing they are to commit to plans he calls the “Black Agenda” and the “Ward 8 Agenda.”

Just how closely the candidates adhere to his agendas will remain a secret, though, because Barry won’t reveal what’s on his checklists to LL. Barry says he’s pitching the agendas to “major” candidates—-Gray, Tommy Wells, Muriel BowserJack Evans, and Vincent Orange.

Potential horse traders worried about Barry’s health intervening in a deal should relax. Barry insists that recent health problems, including a blood clot in 2012, hospitalization in 2013, and more recent diabetes complications in his legs won’t prevent him from working for a candidate. “I’m at the zenith of my popularity,” Barry tells LL.

Not all nine of the Democratic mayoral hopefuls will get a lunch with Barry for a chance at his endorsement. Barry won’t meet with the people he considers “fringe” candidates, a list that he says includes Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal and contractor Christian Carter.

Barry says Shallal tried to convince son Christopher Barry to get a sit-down with him during Barry’s Ward 8 Christmas party at THEARC last month. Unfortunately for the restauranteur, Christopher Barry is “too smart” to get involved, according to his father. (A Shallal spokesman disputes Barry’s story.)

“He doesn’t consider himself a fringe candidate, but that’s natural,” Barry says.

At least Barry doesn’t consider Shallal a fringe restaurateur. Barry says he’s still trying to get Shallal to open a Busboys & Poets in his ward.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery