Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Trayon White
Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Trayon White Credit: Darrow Montgomery/file

D.C. awoke this morning to the news that At-Large Councilmember Robert White is running for mayor. The Washington Post was first with the story, followed by DCist/WAMU. Four reporters (including your Loose Lips), a photographer, and a camera guy followed White into the Office of Campaign Finance and listened to him give a little spiel in the lobby about how the government is only working for the wealthy and the well-connected. 

White pledged to give voice to marginalized people and hope to “people who are not right now believing that tomorrow is going to be better than today.” And that was it—a fairly uneventful announcement from a rather boring, if popular, politician seeking higher office.

But this afternoon, LL learned another sitting councilmember is planning to jump in the race for mayor: Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White.

The Ward 8 rep took a slightly different approach to making his plans known than his Council colleague with the same last name. LL first noticed Trayon White’s intention to run (thanks to a tipster) in the comments of an Instagram post from Washingtonian Problems, which boasts 226,000 followers. 

“@trayonwhite needa be mayor,” one user commented on the post featuring Robert White’s announcement.

“I’m running,” Trayon White replied.

Another Insta user, danno.brown, commented: “this bamma (referring to Robert White) is running on defund the police while murders in the city are sky high? where is @trayonwhite for mayor?!”

“join me,” Trayon White replied.

In a text message, Trayon White confirmed to LL that he’s running for mayor but declined to talk about his plans further.

“Got some things I’m considering and working out,” he said via text.

While he steals a little of Robert White’s thunder, Trayon White also multiplies the intrigue in the mayor’s race by a factor of 1,000. Trayon White is one of the most interesting local elected officials in D.C. He’s immensely popular among his base, so much so that neither his questionable comments on vaccines (in the midst of a pandemic) nor his anti-Semetic comments about Jews controlling the weather a few years ago seemed to lose him any support. He cruised to re-election in 2020, earning 58 percent of the vote (5,063 votes total) against three challengers in the June primary, which is decisive in deeply Democratic D.C. Robert White, for his part, is also popular in Ward 8, earning 7,565 votes in the primary, though he had no challengers. 

One of Trayon White’s main focuses has been the chronic violence that exists in his ward. Earlier this year, he called on Mayor Muriel Bowser to declare a state of emergency to address the violence. Bowser and the Council have dedicated significant resources to addressing gun violence, yet homicides continue to rise

Bowser has yet to say whether she will seek a third term, but she has previously said she believes there is still more work to be done.

Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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