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Posted at 11:19 AM ET, 03/31/2010

Evans in chairman's race

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said Wednesday that he's "definitely running" for council chairman in the September Democratic primary, a race he said he has been "preparing for for years."

"This is an opportunity, and I look forward to it," Evans said.

Evans will most likely face council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large), who has also been working the phones in recent days to try to line up support. But other candidates could also emerge.

Neither Brown, who chairs the Economic Development Committee, nor Evans, chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, will have to give up their council seats to seek the chairman's slot. The current chairman, Vincent C. Gray (D), announced Tuesday that he will challenge Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) instead of seeking reelection.

WTOP reported Wednesday that Evans would be closely aligned with Fenty during the campaign. But Evans said he's running his "own race" and doesn't need help from Fenty to get his campaign off the ground.

Evans, the longest-serving council member, was first elected in 1991. In 1998, he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for mayor, finishing third behind former Mayor Anthony Williams and Kevin P. Chavous.

Evans, who represents some of the city's wealthiest communities as well as the downtown business community, should be a prolific fundraiser. But Evans could still struggle to win support from African Americans in a two-way race with Brown, who is black and who was the top-vote getter in the 2008 at-large race.

Evans is socially liberal but a fiscal moderate. He has generally been opposed to higher taxes and believes the city government needs to take advantage of tax credits and other incentives to attract new business to the city. His positions often put him at odds with some liberal interest groups. But Evans will probably have a base of support in vote-rich Northwest Washington.

"I wouldn't run if I didn't think I can win," Evans said.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:19 AM ET, 03/31/2010

Categories:  Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig, Tim Craig

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