The political turmoil first sparked by Mayor Marion Barry's legal problems is likely to result in a dramatic change in the makeup of the 13-member D.C. Council, with some members seeking higher office and others struggling to ward off tough challenges.
As of Tuesday, more than 30 incumbents and challengers had either gathered petitions or filed with the D.C. campaign finance office to vie for seven seats, including council chairman, two at-large seats and seats in Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6.
Of those, two seats are being vacated by incumbents seeking higher office, while two of the five other incumbents -- Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large) and Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) -- are facing strong challenges.
For the first time in eight years, the city's second highest office, the chairman's post, will change hands. Two-term chairman David A. Clarke (D) is giving up the post to run for mayor.
One of Clarke's most frequent critics, council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), is widely considered the favorite to win the seat. Wilson has raised more than $400,000, overshadowing the campaign war chests of any other candidate for council. Wilson also has received several major endorsements, including the coveted support of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
As the front-runner in the race, Wilson has come under attack from two of his opponents, Vincent Orange, a former D.C. government worker, and Jaques Chevalier, a real estate broker. Dennis L. Fitch, a mail clerk for the D.C. government, also picked up petitions to run.
Orange, an accountant who worked as the acting chief of assessment services for the city's Department of Finance and Revenue, said his experience in finance outstrips that of Wilson, chairman of the council's Committee on Finance and Revenue.
If Wilson is elected chairman, a special election for his Ward 2 seat would be held within months after he assumes office.
Two at-large council seats are up for election this year. One post is being vacated by Betty Ann Kane (D), who is running for the non-voting House seat of Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.), who also has entered the race for mayor.
Mason, 75, the other at-large council member up for election, is considered vulnerable by some because of her age and a strong field of candidates. In all, there are 13 candidates so far for the two at-large seats. The two top vote getters in the general election will be the winners.
Mason, the only Statehood Party member on the council, may be challenged in the primary by Fitch, a Statehood Party member who has picked up petitions to run in both the at-large race and the council chairman's race. Fitch will have to decide which race to enter before the Sept. 11 primary
The six Democrats seeking their party's nomination in the September primary are Terry Lynch, president of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations; Johnny Barnes, a former congressional aide who ran unsuccessfully against Kane in 1982; Linda W. Cropp, a school board member who made an unsuccessful bid for council member Charlene Drew Jarvis's Ward 4 seat in 1988; Burllock V. Wells; Edward Allen Beasley; and Amber M. Baker.
The two Republicans who have picked up petitions are W. Cardell Shelton, a contractor, and Harold J. Yates, who also has picked up petitions for the Ward 6 race.
There are three Independents in the at-large race: Jim Harvey, a former administrator at the Whitman-Walker Clinic; Ray Browne, an insurance broker; and Clarene Martin.
Winter, a four-term incumbent from Ward 6, faces a strong challenge from Democrat Harold Brazil, a former Potomac Electric Power Co. lobbyist. Winter, however, could benefit from the crowded field of candidates, with at least six challengers seeking the Democratic nomination, including Charles Ballard, a contractor; Bernard A. Gray, a lawyer who challenged Winter in 1986; John Matthews, a community activist; Dwight Terrell; Dwight Prophet; Yates; and Brazil.
Incumbents in the other three races -- Frank Smith Jr. (D-Ward 1), Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3) and Harry Thomas Sr. (D-Ward 5) -- face token opposition. Nathanson's opponent, Jim Kalish, is an Independent who is publisher of a local newsletter.
Thomas, who has strong support from labor groups, is being opposed by Kathryn A. Pearson-West, an advisory neighborhood commissioner; Tony Norman, a lawyer; and Robert Artisst.
Smith, a two-term incumbent who maintains a strong base, faces a Democratic primary challenge from Richard M. Landis, a lawyer and chairman of the Ward 1 Metro action committee. Landis challenged Smith in 1986.
Bobby Pittman is seeking the Republican nomination.
Jaques Chevalier (Libertarian)
Dennis L. Fitch (Statehood)
Vincent Orange (D)
John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2)
AT LARGE (TWO SEATS)
Amber M. Baker (D)
Johnny Barnes (D)
Edward Allen Beasley (D)
Ray Browne (Independent)
Linda Cropp (D)
Dennis L. Fitch (Statehood)
Jim Harvey (Independent)
Terry Lynch (D)
Clarene Martin (Independent)
Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood) Incumbent
W. Cardell Shelton (R)
Burllock V. Wells (D)
Harold J. Yates (R) WARD 1
Richard M. Landis (D)
Bobby Pittman (R)
Frank Smith Jr. (D) Incumbent WARD 3
Jim Kalish (Independent)
Jim Nathanson (D) Incumbent WARD 5
Robert Artisst (D)
Tony Norman (D)
Kathryn A. Pearson-West (D)
Harry Thomas Sr. (D) Incumbent WARD 6
Charles Ballard (D)
Harold E. Brazil (D)
Bernard A. Gray (D)
John Matthews (D)
Dwight Prophet (D)
Dwight Terrell (D)
Nadine P. Winter (D) Incumbent
Harold J. Yates (R)