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LL watched the Senate cloture vote yesterday in the press gallery beside WTOP’s inimitable Mark Plotkin. We both struggled to hear the votes as they were called—-helped not at all by Plotkin’s stream of anecdotes stretching back well into the ’70s and beyond.
Then we heard: “Senator Cochran, aye.”
Thad Cochran? Republican of Mississippi? Gentleman Southerner? Certainly not a fellow anyone thought would stick his neck out for the District.
Plotkin immediately though he knew what was up: “That was Jack Evans! It worked!“
So he goes into the story: Two years ago, Evans with Plotkin at West End steakhouse The Prime Rib, where the radio man was celebrating his birthday. Plotkin—-a walking, talking Capitol Hill facebook—-spotted Cochran seated with another distinguished-looking gentleman at a nearby table. As is his wont, Plotkin told his buddy to introduce himself to Cochran and put a word in for voting rights.
Evans did so. But Plotkin neglected to tell Evans which of the two was the actual senator.
“I introduced myself to the bodyguard,” Evans remembers. “He looked like a senator—-gray hair, very distinguished looking.”
Once that was straightened out, the Ward 2 councilmember asked him to consider a vote for District voting rights. “He said something to the effect of, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll think about that. Thanks for mentioning it.'” He followed up with a note and didn’t think much more of it.
As it happens, Evans was one of the few members not on the scene yesterday—-he was tending to council business back at the Wilson Building—-but Plotkin was convinced he’d done his part years before.
“And it worked,” Plotkin beamed. “It worked! [Cochran]’s smarter than I thought!”