And then there were two: Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells just announced in an email that he’ll kick off his campaign for mayor on Saturday, joining Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser as a candidate in next year’s Democratic primary.
Wells, whose intentions have been clear for months, will launch his campaign at noon this Saturday at Starburst Plaza, the intersection of H Street NE, Benning Road, Maryland Avenue, Florida Avenue, 15th Street, and Bladensburg Road. It’s also the intersection of wards 5 and 6—-likely a symbolic attempt to bridge his strong support in his home ward with his limited support in poorer wards 5, 7, and 8.
“I’m running because I know we can clean up the corruption in city government and bring the same success we’ve achieved in Ward 6 to the rest of the city,” Wells said in his announcement email.
Wells has held “listening tours” in all eight wards in recent weeks. At one at the Latin American Youth Center in Ward 1, he emphasized a few main campaign themes: cutting teen crime in half, reducing government corruption, and, of course, the motto of his exploratory-committee-cum-not-quite-campaign: “Building a Livable Walkable D.C.”
That message is likely to resonate well with smart-growthy voters in the central neighborhoods of the city, but Wells will have his work cut out for him in persuading both wealthier, car-reliant voters west of Rock Creek Park and poorer voters east of the Anacostia that he has their interests at heart.
Bowser announced her candidacy at her childhood home in North Michigan Park in March. Fellow councilmembers Jack Evans (Ward 2) is also thought to be interested in running, as is David Catania (at-large), who could run in the general election as an independent. And the big wild card is the incumbent, Vince Gray, who’s presided over strong economic growth but is surrounded by allegations of impropriety in his 2010 campaign. Gray hasn’t given any indication of whether he’ll run for re-election.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery