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Marion S. Barry Jr. may be expecting to roll to re-election as Ward 8 councilmember next year, but he may not have the ballot to himself.

This evening Skyland resident Ahmad Braxton-Jones is announcing an exploratory bid for Barry’s seat.

Braxton-Jones, subject of a 2002 City Paper profile, ran unsuccessfully for at-large councilmember that year, but he now says he’s considerably wiser. He pumps up his community cred, including two terms on the local advisory neighborhood commission and a day job helping kids as a program manager for the East of the River Clergy-Community Partnership.

But why take on the mayor-for-life, whose support in Ward 8 is supposedly legendary?

Braxton-Jones, 33, acknowledges that unseating Barry will be tough, but he says he’s relying on some of his youth-first rhetoric from his first council run, relying on “the next generation of politics” to put him over the top.

His electoral strategy: Get 50 percent of the ward’s nonvoters to cast ballots—-a tough task in a ward where turnout was under 30 percent for the last council primary. A “core” of 50 volunteers, he says, will help him get the vote out.

Braxton-Jones says Barry’s constitutents don’t see his face enough. “I don’t see any participation in the community,” he says. “I don’t think the current incumbent has the passion.”