The at-large council race stands to get still more interesting: Kelvin Robinson, former chief of staff to Mayor Anthony A. Williams, is pondering an entry to the at-large D.C. Council race.
“I’ve had a lot of conversations,” Robinson told LL last week. “It is something I am considering very seriously.”
Robinson eased back into public life last year, when he won a special election to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A, which covers the neighborhoods stretching east and north of Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Robinson was elected chair of the body.
Scuttlebutt dating back a year had Robinson setting himself up for a run against Ward 6 council incumbent Tommy Wells, but that potential seems to have faded. Robinson did not rule out a ward run last week but said he’s “leaning toward” the at-large race. (For what it’s worth, he also attended Wells’ campaign kickoff last month at Eastern Market.)
Rather, Robinson said he’d be looking to replicate the surfeit of council leadership in Ward 7, which boasts not only Yvette Alexander, but at-larger Kwame Brown and Chairman Vincent Gray. “There might be some value in having two members from Ward 6,” Robinson said. “That’s a consideration of mine.”
Robinson’s entry as a Democrat would put him in direct competition with incumbent Phil Mendelson and former parks director Clark Ray, adding a new element to a downticket race now sure to be obscured by the mayor and chairman tilts. In the oft-cynical racial calculus of District politics, it is worth nothing that Robinson would represent the first black entrant into the at-large race. (The Rev. Carolyn Graham, another Williams administration official, was also toying with an at-large run last year.)
If Robinson were to run, he’d have to face questions about his fundraising while working for Williams, which earned him a Hatch Act investigation and an unexpected exit from Mayor Bowtie’s employ.
But Robinson, a consultant by trade, would put that fundraising experience to work and draw on ongoing connections to the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and other business types. Of course, a similar resume didn’t help Mendelson’s last opponent much—-the well-financed A. Scott Bolden went down in
2004 2006 by landslide margins—-but Robinson may be counting on Ray to draw white votes from Mendelson.
Says Mendo: “Kelvin is an old friend. I welcome his getting into the race and I look forward to the campaign.”
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Nelson, ANC 6A