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When Jack Evans ran for mayor in 1998, he launched his campaign in a playground that doubled as the site of gangland executions. His promises back then were as modest as the location: shut down open-air drug markets, replace bad principals, make Washington a viable city again. Today, with D.C. regularly accused of being too successful, Evans’ ambitions have become grander: Let’s beat Paris!

“Quite frankly, my vision is what we need in order to establish the District of Columbia as one of the great cities of the world,” Evans told supporters today at his mayoral campaign launch this morning at 14th and Q streets NW. For observers wondering what the point of an Evans candidacy is, besides Jack Evans taking his last shot at the top job, there it is: Evans promises to take Washington from “booming” to “the best.” How? By bringing success for everyone, through measures like better coordination of job training programs between business and government.

First, though, he has to see if he can build a constituency outside of Ward 2. To that end, Evans’ campaign headquarters at 14th and Florida is in Ward 1. His speech today in front of new French restaurant Le Diplomate had nods to African-American residents, seniors, and bike lane-loving new residents (LL counted three uses of city-as-rich-tapestry imagery, then stopped counting).

Evans will face at least two challengers—-D.C. Council colleagues Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells—-and could also be going up against incumbent Mayor Vince Gray, but his staff isn’t worried about money. “Jack’s a good fundraiser,” Evans campaign finance director Gary Ellis assures LL. No kidding—-despite running unopposed for re-election last year, Evans made sure to bank hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions.

After the speech, Evans campaign manager Josh Brown enthused about Evans’ role in taking 14th Street from prostitutes to bistros. “And now look at it!” Brown said, throwing his hands back to Italian gastropub Ghibellina.

Photo by Will Sommer