Julius Hobson Jr. announced yesterday that he would like to be chosen to fill the vacancy on the D.C. City Council created by the death of his father on Wednesday.

"I feel I have an obligation as his son to pursue the seat," Hobson said in one of a series of interviews he had with reporters yesterday.

"I know people are going to say, his father hasn't been dead 24 hours and look at him," Hobson said. "But (my father) never felt that even though somebody passed, you would stop everything. You remember people and say we have to keep moving."

The younger Hobson's declared interest in the seat could spark an intense battle within the D.C. Statehood Party, which by law, chooses the person to succeed Hobson until a special election is held. The elder Hobson had said before he died that he wanted his wife Tina to succeed him.Another possible successor is party chairperson Josephine (Jo) Butler.

Mrs. Hobson (the late councilman's second wife and not the mother of Hobson Jr.) had no comment yesterday on whether she plans to seek the seat. Ms. Butler, who ran unsuccessfully as a Statehood candidate for an at-large Council seat last year, said she has not yet made up her mind. "I haven't ruled it in or out," she said!

Hobson Jr., 25, is an editorial assistant at the Institute for the study of Educational Policy at Howard University. He has represented ward eight in Anacostia on Washington's school board since 1973.

If Hobson Jr. is chosen by the 23-member party central committee to succeed his father, he will have to resign his seat on the school board. The younger Hobson said yesterday that he would do that, and added that he does not plan to run for re-election to the board this fall in any case.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics formally declared the City Council seat vacant yesterday and set July 19 for the special election to choose someone to complete the remaining 18 months of the older Hobson's term.