D.C. Notebook:

By Nikita Stewart and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), who is up for reelection in a year, hit Ward 7 this week.

Fenty, who made a name for himself by knocking on doors and literally wearing a hole in his shoe in his first mayoral bid in 2006, is again going door-to-door. On Monday night, he was spotted in Precinct 106, which had 33 percent voter turnout in the 2006 primary.

In an interview, Fenty would not say where else he had been canvassing or where he might go next. But he said door-knocking is fundamental. "We always want people to know it's an important part of campaigning," he said.

The mayor could have a real campaign on his hands as folks continue to line up to run against him. Potential challengers include Leo Alexander, a former TV reporter turned insurance salesman; Sulaimon Brown, a onetime Fenty campaign worker; and Ernest E. Johnson, owner of a realty firm.

But it was multimillionaire R. Donahue "Don" Peebles's announcement that he could be interested in running or backing someone against Fenty that has the District's political world talking.

Is Fenty worried? "If you're running for office, the smartest thing you can do is worry about everything," he said.

Peebles said that he has not made a decision on running but that it became more of a consideration when people suggested that he be a candidate.

"I am very concerned about the direction of my city," he said. He cited several problems with Fenty and his administration, including teacher layoffs, the awarding of contracts to a handful of developers and Fenty's not meeting with civil rights icon Dorothy Height and poet Maya Angelou about their concerns about a recreation center.

"The city is becoming more and more divided," Peebles said.

Peebles could end up giving a D.C. Council member a big boost. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and colleagues Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) and Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) have been tossed up as possible challengers.

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) said he plans to run for council chairman if Gray decides to run for mayor next year.

Evans, who has held ambitions to ascend to the chairman's office since his unsuccessful mayoral bid in 1998, made his remarks during an interview with Bruce Depuyt on "NewsTalk" on NewsChannel 8.

"If Vince does runs for mayor and the chair position is open, I would run for chair of the council," Evans said. "God knows who would run against me."

During the interview, Evans also said he thinks Gray could be a formidable challenger to Fenty. "If he does run, I think it would be a very competitive race with Mayor Fenty, who is still very well liked, but Chairman Gray is also very well liked," Evans said.

Evans, first elected to the council in 1991, appeared dismissive of either of the Browns' chances against Fenty.

Evans is chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue and is regarded as a moderate, pro-business Democrat who has generally supported Fenty's agenda.

If he ran for chairman, he would almost certainly face at least one credible opponent, probably several. "It all depends on Vince Gray," Evans said. "If he decides to go, we could have a very exciting summer."

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