Two more D.C. lawyers ponder attorney general runs


Will an elected attorney general ply the Wilson Building halls sometime soon? (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Big-shot white-collar defense lawyer Mark H. Tuohey entered the first-ever race for D.C. attorney general Tuesday, and two other prominent attorneys in private practice could follow him into the contest.

Also said to be exploring runs are Lorie S. Masters of Perkins Coie and Karl A. Racine of Venable, both of whom are both well-regarded litigators who have been been long involved in various local causes.

Racine is a white-collar defender who spent time in the D.C. Public Defender’s office and later served as an associate White House counsel in the Clinton administration. In private practice, he served for six years as managing partner for Venable, one of the city’s largest firms. Racine served on Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s 2010 transition committee and served as a member of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.’s legal team when he was prosecuted for theft.

Racine did not return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment Wednesday, but two people familiar with his plans said he is exploring a run and could come to a decision as soon as next week.

Masters is an insurance litigator who represents policyholders in high-stakes disputes with insurance companies. She has also served on the boards of D.C. Vote, the D.C. Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and the Legal Aid Society of Washington, and has long been active in D.C. Bar activities.

In an interview Wednesday, Masters acknowledged that she’s considering a run and cited her work on various District autonomy issues through D.C. Vote and D.C. Appleseed. “We could use someone who’s an advocate for the citizens in the District,” she said.

But Masters said the unsettled nature of the race — the D.C. Court of Appeals is still deciding whether to revisit its decision to reinstate the election post-haste — has made her deliberations tricky.

“There’s not that much time, that’s what the problem is,” she said. “A lot of us have full-time jobs; a lot of us can’t wait around until our leaders, shall we say, have sorted this whole thing out. … I’ve had no confidence where this is going, and that’s not fair to the citizens of the District.”

Besides Tuohey, the only other candidate who has officially declared is Paul H. Zukerberg, the criminal defender who brought the lawsuit that has tentatively put the AG office back on the November ballot.

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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