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Jim Graham will run for re-election, the Ward 1 councilmember announced this morning on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk.

Graham, 68, had been mulling another run for his seat with an exploratory committee, which conducted a phone poll on his prospects. While his age made him consider not running, Graham says he was convinced to try for another term after a series of recent community events, including his turkey giveaway.

Graham also addressed his series of ethical travails, which range from not reporting an offered bribe to authorities to involvement in a Metro deal that earned him a D.C. Council reprimand.

“I certainly wish I hadn’t said what I said, if I said it,” Graham said, an apparent reference to a May 29, 2008 conversation in which Graham allegedly offered to stop opposing a bid for the District’s lottery contract in exchange for them pulling out of an agreement for Metro property.

Graham’s entry into the race creates the possibility that the candidates seeking to unseat him will split the vote against him.

In a statement on Graham’s candidacy, opponent Brianne Nadeau criticized his constituent service operation as “reactionary” and described herself as his “lead challenger.” Via email, fellow challenger Beverley Wheeler expressed “surprise” that Graham is running.

In his own statement, yet another Ward 1 candidate, Bryan Weaver, said Graham’s run was a sign that he’s out of touch with Ward 1 voters. “Washingtonians can no longer close their eyes and ears to the city’s corruption,” Weaver says in his statement.

Graham also weighed in on the mayoral contest—-“a horse race”—-while declining to offer an endorsement for any of the candidates. Still, Graham said he understood why Vince Gray would want to run again.

“For him not to run for a job that he loves very deeply is succumbing to a fear of the unknown,” Graham said.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery