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The Post is first with the news: Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser is running for mayor and will kick off her (official) campaign this Saturday.
Bowser is staying tight-lipped until then, telling LL only that on Saturday she’ll make a “big fun announcement” at her parents’ home in North Michigan Park.
It’s been widely assumed for several months that Bowser would run for mayor. Picked by former Mayor Adrian Fenty to replace him as Ward 4 councilmember in 2007, Bowser has enjoyed a quick turnaround in political fortunes since Fenty was ousted in 2010. The unexpected departure of three of her council colleagues allowed Bowser to move from overseeing the lowly council committee on parks and libraries to chairing the influential economic development committee in two years. And the federal investigation into Vince Gray‘s 2010 campaign has damaged Gray, leaving the door open to a mayoral run by Bowser and others.
Ward 6 Councilmartyr Saint Tommy Wells has already formed an exploratory committee and is likely to run. And Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans says he’s also interested in running. Gray hasn’t said either way, but staff close to him think he’s going to run. (Keep in mind that the all-important Democratic primary will be held in April of next year.)
Bowser has shown she can raise plenty of campaign money, and having the king-making Ward 4 as her base is an obvious benefit. The big question for the Bowser campaign will be whether her close association with Fenty will hurt her among the city’s African-American voters, who abandoned Fenty in droves during the 2010 race. Expect Bowser to emphasize her deep D.C. roots to appeal to disaffected anti-Fenty voters—hence the kickoff in her childhood neighborhood, where her father Joe Bowser has long been active in local politics.
To get an idea of what Bowser’s campaign stump speech could be like, check out her remarks from her swearing-in earlier this year.
“With a lot of progress to be proud of, we cannot pretend like our elected leadership has not let our people down,” Bowser said. “We’ve also in some cases failed to lead with urgency, disappointing D.C. residents who expect big visions and swift action to solve the big problems that face our city.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery