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Busboys And... Politics? Shallal Jumps Into D.C. Mayoral Race, As Does Orange

D.C.'s campaign season officially kicked off today as contenders picked up petitions to get themselves on the ballot for next April's primary. Among the contenders for the city's top job are two new hopefuls — a local restaurateur and a longtime city politician.

Andy Shallal, who owns the Busboys and Poets chain of restaurants in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, announced on The Politics Hour today that he has picked up petitions for a mayoral run and will officially launch his campaign on Tuesday.

Already well known for his support of progressive causes, Shallal said that his campaign would focus on the growing divide between haves and have nots in D.C.

"We're living in extraordinary times when we have more condos and apartments, more beer gardens, more bike lanes, more of so many things, and we're rated on top of everything. Yet we still have 20 percent poverty, one-third of our kids are under some type of assistance. There's a lot of issues that have not been addressed," he said.

Also new to the field of potential contenders is Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large), who sent a representative to pick up nominating petitions. Orange made an unsuccessful run for mayor in 2006.

Expected candidates dropped by the D.C. Board of Elections during the day, including Council members Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). Former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis is also running for the city s top job, while the man who currently holds the post, Vincent Gray, hasn t yet said if he ll run again.

Candidates for citywide office have until January 2 to collect 2,000 signatures from registered voters. The primary is on April 1.

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