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Ward 6 candidate Darrel Thompson says he wants to shake up the Wilson Building. To prove it, he led the audience at his campaign launch on Sunday in a whopping seven call-and-response demands for “new leadership.” It’d be the makings of a classic anti-incumbent campaign, if only he had an incumbent to run against.

Current Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells is too busy running for mayor to hang on to his current seat. Instead, the speeches at Thompson’s launch on the roof of Barracks Row’s Cava Mezze restaurant seemed aimed at likely candidate and former Wells chief of staff Charles Allen.

Introducing Thompson, attorney Johnny Barnes lamented that certain unnamed people didn’t have a good reason to run for the D.C. Council. “It’s not a good reason to run because you have been in the Wilson Building,” says Barnes, who went on to compare Thompson to “a new broom” for sweeping out corruption.

If the reform messaging doesn’t work for you, Thompson and his unfortunately named Team Thompson campaign have something else: his background in the federal government. Thompson, who worked as the chief of staff on Barack Obama‘s 2004 Senate campaign, recently quit his job as a staffer for Sen. Harry Reid.

When he still worked in Congress, Thompson claims that he pushed the District’s interests. Likening himself to the District’s shadow senators, Thompson says he considered himself the “shadow staffer.”

Barnes went further. “This is a young man who, because of what he has already done, can call the president,” Barnes says.

Photo by Will Sommer