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Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal is inching ever closer toward a mayoral run. After telling the Post two weeks ago that he’d launch an exploratory committee, the restaurateur says he intends to obtain nominating petitions from the Board of Elections after they’re available on Nov. 8.

“I’ll be picking up the petitions,” Shallal tells LL.

Under normal circumstances, that would make Shallal as much of a candidate as a person can be. But wary of election rules that forbid an office-seeker from campaigning before filing a declaration of candidacy, Shallal insists that this doesn’t mean he’s definitely running for mayor. Surely there are other nonmayoral reason to pick up the petitions—-maybe his restaurants just need some scratch paper.

Shallal isn’t new to politics, having chaired Michael A. Brown‘s ill-fated 2012 D.C. Council re-election campaign and supported Mayor Vince Gray. Shallal, who previously said that he would stay out of the race if Gray runs, doesn’t know what the mayor’s planning. “I’m not seeing movement one way or the other,” Shallal says.

As for that exploratory committee, it still hasn’t been registered 15 days after the Post story ran, according to the Office of Campaign Finance. Shallal says he’s looking for staff for the committee, but he doesn’t have much time left. “It will be a quick exploration,” Shallal says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery