Tommy Wells will launch mayoral run Saturday


D.C. Council member Tommy Wells launched an exploratory committee in February. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells will bring more than three months of exploration to an end Saturday when he formally launches his mayoral campaign at a rally in Northeast Washington.

Wells (D-Ward 6), who announced the noon rally in an e-mail to supporters Monday, is likely to become the second candidate in the race, following fellow Democrat and council member Muriel Bowser. Incumbent Vincent C. Gray (D) has not announced whether he will seek a second term.

“I’m running because I know we can clean up the corruption in city government and bring the same success we’ve achieved in Ward 6 to the rest of the city,” Wells said in the e-mail.

The rally is set at the “starburst” intersection where Bladensburg Road, Maryland Avenue, 15th Street and H Street NE intersect, at the eastern end of the rapidly developing H Street corridor.

The announcement follows a series of “listening tour” events across the city. In recent interviews, Wells said he was encouraged by the reaction to his explorations, which began openly in February, and he gave no indication that he wouldn’t proceed with a formal campaign.

Wells, 56, has represented Ward 6 on the council since 2007. A former social worker who has lived in the city since the early 1980s, Wells formerly served on the D.C. Board of Education and on the advisory neighborhood commission in Capitol Hill.

Like Bowser, Wells was largely unknown to the respondents to a Washington Post poll last July that tested impressions of several potential mayoral candidates. Thirty percent of registered voters then held a favorable view of Wells, compared to 12 percent who held an unfavorable view. The poll carried a six-point margin of error.

If he proceeds with a mayoral run, Wells would forfeit a chance at a third term as Ward 6′s council member.

The full e-mail sent to Wells’s supporters:

I’m kicking off my campaign for Mayor this Saturday, May 18th – and I want you to be there!

I’m running because I know we can clean up the corruption in city government and bring the same success we’ve achieved in Ward 6 to the rest of the city.

Join me at 12 noon at the Starburst Plaza (the crossroads of H Street, Benning Road, Bladensburg Road, Maryland Avenue and Florida Avenue, NE.) when we begin our campaign for D.C.’s future.

I’ve spent three months meeting with residents in every Ward of the city, and I hear the same message over and over. D.C. residents want an honest, ethical government that can help build strong neighborhoods.

We are doing it in Ward 6 and I know that together, we can create livable, walkable communities all across DC.

We need to send a clear message that D.C. is ready for new leadership, so reach out to your friends, families and neighbors and ask them to join us Saturday, May 18 to kick off my campaign.

Thanks for all your help and I can’t wait to see you Saturday.

Yours truly,
Tommy Wells

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · May 13, 2013