John Settles makes second run for D.C. Council seat

November 15, 2013
(Courtesy of John F. Settles II)
(Courtesy John F. Settles II)

Another familiar name is seeking the at-large D.C. Council seat now held by Democrat Anita D. Bonds.

John F. Settles II picked up nominating petitions from the D.C. Board of Elections on Thursday, launching his second run for an at-large seat in the span of a year. He joins current Shadow Rep. Nate Bennett-Fleming in challenging Bonds for the Democratic nomination.

Settles, a 42-year-old Logan Circle resident, was among several candidates who late last year entered the special-election race to fill the at-large seat vacated by Phil Mendelson upon his election to the council chairmanship. Settles amassed an impressive list of supporters and raised more than $30,000 but failed to qualify for the ballot after his nominating petitions were challenged — prompting him afterward to lash out at “dirty politics” and the “political tricks of the status quo.”

“Even if it is not in electoral politics, my desire for action and change has only been intensified by this experience,” he said in a statement at the time.

In a Thursday interview, Settles said he decided to return to electoral politics after “a lot of internal debate” that led him to determine that he still has a lot to say about affordable housing, education, jobs and the District’s autonomy from Congress.

And Settles, who works as a mortgage originator, said he “absolutely” will get enough valid signatures this time. It may help that he needs to collect only 2,000 signatures for the Democratic primary ballot rather than the 3,000 signatures necessary for a special election.

“The first time was a great learning experience,” he said. “We’ve got more volunteers, and we’ve got a more thorough review process. We won’t make the same mistake twice.”

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 | November 15, 2013