Jack Evans continues attacks on Muriel Bowser, decrying ‘code words’


Jack Evans, a Georgetown resident, took great umbrage at the suggestion he’s knowledgeable only about Georgetown. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The District government was closed Monday, but the mayoral race was open for business — at least for candidate Jack Evans, who summoned reporters to an afternoon conference call where he renewed his attacks on fellow candidate and D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser.

The impetus for the telephone confab? A desire, according to a campaign release, “to set the record straight” and “turn the conversation to substance” after a Bowser spokesman suggested last week that Evans had “a lack of knowledge about neighborhoods outside of Georgetown.”

Another candidate might have shrugged off the campaign-season jab, especially if it was responding to their own news conference in Bowser’s home ward called to decry her economic development record. But not Evans, who assumed a posture of great umbrage at the suggestion he does not know neighborhoods besides Georgetown, where he has lived for two decades.

“What is she implying about me that she’s not saying directly?’ Evans asked, saying Bowser’s council spokesman was using “code words” in mentioning Georgetown and that “it is wrong for a candidate for mayor to campaign by isolating one part of the city against all of the others.”

But pressed to decipher the code that so aggrieved him, Evans declined: “That you’d have to ask Council member Bowser.”

Here’s a stab: The neighborhoods of Georgetown and Burleith, according to Census data, are among the whitest and wealthiest in the city.

Later, when asked whether the conference call only furthered the narrative that Bowser is emerging as the leading challenger to Gray, Evans said he was only interested in drawing “contrasts” with his Ward 4 colleague. “I have a much, much stronger record than she does,” he said.

Meanwhile, Evans continued to be reticent to criticize Gray, who leads all Democrats in two recent polls.

Bo Shuff, Bowser’s campaign manager, said he was not on the call and thus declined to comment on Evans’s remarks.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · March 3, 2014