The fight among Democrats who want to be D.C.'s next mayor is looking to be an intense — and crowded — affair, with nine candidates having submitted the necessary number of signatures on nominating petitions by yesterday's deadline.
Along with incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray, four members of the D.C. Council turned in their petitions: Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), and Vincent Orange (D-At Large). They were joined by State Department official Reta Jo Lewis, restaurant owner Andy Shallal, contractor Christian Carter, and musician Carlos Allen.
Thirteen Democrats had picked up petitions for the April 1 mayoral primary, but four did not return them to the D.C. Board of Elections with the 2,000 required signatures.
The primary will also offer non-Democrats the chance to pick mayoral candidates: Libertarian Bruce Majors and Statehood Green Faith are running unopposed, while Republican James Caviness failed to submit signatures for his run.
Multiple candidates for the other offices on the ballot — including Council Chairman, At-Large, Ward 1, and Ward 5 — submitted petitions. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton will face no challengers, and neither will Paul Zukerberg, who is running for attorney general. The fate of that race remains undecided, as Zukerberg is fighting a Council plan to delay the election until 2018.
Nominating petitions will be available for public review starting this Saturday, and candidates and residents will be able to challenge signatures they believe to be fraudulent. If any candidate falls below the signature threshold for their respective office, they will be knocked off the ballot.
The victors of the April 1 primary will have to keep campaigning ahead of the November general election, where independent candidates can add their names to the mix. Council member David Catania (I-At Large) is considering an independent run for mayor.