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Carol Schwartz ran for D.C. mayor in 1986, 1994, 1998, and 2002, and today she made a surprising announcement: She's vying for the city's highest office once again.
In a statement mailed to reporters, Schwartz, who also served as a Republican on the D.C. Council from 1985 to 1989 and 1997 to 2008, says that she jumping into the mayoral contest due to her concerns with how the city's breakneck development is affecting longtime residents.
"During this five-year break from political life — and many of you may remember, that break was not of my choosing — I have watched closely from the sidelines and have been concerned about what is happening in our city’s present and what its future will look like," she writes, alluding to the 2008 primary loss to fellow Republican Pat Mara that ended her career on the Council.
"While I have been extremely happy to see our town develop and thrive — the groundwork which I helped lay during my years in elected office, along with many others then and since — I have become more and more troubled as many of our longtime fellow residents are being left behind or pushed out. In fact, our glorious diversity is being threatened," she says.
Schwartz also echoes a theme that has come up in recent races: corruption. "Any corruption is too much — and D.C. has gone beyond the pale," she says. "And it concerns me that my former body, the D.C. Council, created the circumstances that opened the door for some of these unethical shenanigans to take place, circumstances I tried to stop when I was on the Council."
If she makes it on the ballot — the two-month period to gather the 3,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot kicks off on Friday — Schwartz will join Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser and Council member David Catania (I-At Large).
In the 2008 race, Catania backed Mara in his primary fight against Schwartz. When she launched a write-in campaign, she was backed by Bowser. Three years later, Schwartz hosted a fundraiser for Bowser.
In her 1986 run against Marion Barry, Schwartz took in 33 percent of the vote, and topped that in 1994 with 42 percent — a strong showing for a Republican in the city. But in her statement, she says she switched her party affiliation last year. (Catania switched from Republican to Independent in 2004.)
"I have undergone a change, and obviously it’s not a facelift. I am now a registered Independent and have been since late last year. I am finally registered to exemplify what I really am — a true Independent," she says.
Other mayoral candidates include LIbertarian Bruce Majors and the Statehood Green Party's Faith. The D.C. GOP has said that it will have a candidate on the ballot.
Her full statement is posted below.