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One of the worst-kept secrets in D.C. politics is finally out: D.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson Bill Rice will be a candidate for the Ward 3 D.C. Council seat. In a April 2 e-mail, Rice indicated he will resign his city post “this week” to begin his campaign. Rice had no further comment; the federal Hatch Act prohibits him from discussing the upcoming contest until he quits his government job.

Rice joins a crowded group of candidates hoping to replace Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson, who is giving up her safe ward seat to run for council chairman. The field is already crowded: Sam Brooks, Mary Cheh, Erik Gaull, Robert Gordon, Jonathan Rees, and Cathy Wiss have all declared for the Ward 3 seat.

Rice has cemented a position on D.C.’s political gossip circuit. His every-so-often political “Bullpen” has become a popular event for candidates, budding politicos, and other hangers-on. No word yet if the Bullpen will be bequeathed to another gadfly.

In 1998, Rice finished fourth in another crowded field for an at-large council seat. Phil Mendelson won that race and still holds that office.