Democratic mayoral candidate Charlene Drew Jarvis was not endorsed by D.C. Mayor Marion Barry last month because she refused to agree to "some long-term interests" that Barry had, Jarvis has told WETA-TV (Channel 26).
In an interview scheduled to be broadcast this month, Jarvis said she lost "some support at the mayor's level" because she disagreed with the "cronyism of the past," an apparent reference to some of the contracting and other governmental practices during Barry's three terms as mayor.
The Jarvis interview, a partial text of which was released yesterday by WETA to news organizations, is another twist in the recent political drama over which candidate in the Democratic Party's mayoral primary might have won Barry's blessing.
Last month, Barry seemed poised to endorse D.C. Council members Jarvis (Ward 4) or John Ray (At Large), who is the acknowledged front-runner in the Democratic primary.
For many weeks this summer, Jarvis carefully avoided criticizing Barry directly, and her top aides believed that Barry would endorse her at a July 6 news conference outside the federal courthouse where he is on trial on 14 drug-related charges.
But instead of endorsing a candidate in the primary, Barry used the news conference to tell his supporters they were free to work for any of the Democrats running to succeed him. Jarvis said later that day that she did not know why the mayor made no endorsement, although the two spoke briefly that morning.
In the WETA interview, Jarvis discussed the non-endorsement in greater detail, saying, "I had an opportunity to get the mayor's endorsement; I could have done that, by agreeing to some long-term interests that the mayor had."
"I would not do that," Jarvis added, according to the WETA transcript. "I have clearly staked out my own ground, in that I have said that I am and intend to be an independent candidate for mayor that is unaffected by and resists the cronyism of the past.
"I've said that very clearly; that cost me some support at the mayor's level."
Jarvis, reached at a party near Dupont Circle marking her 49th birthday, declined to elaborate on the WETA interview.
Barry said last night that he talked to Jarvis about the matter yesterday, and that she and Barry "agree that we have not had any major discussions about endorsements. My basic instinct is not to make an endorsement."
Meanwhile, the parent council for the Washington area Teamsters union announced yesterday it was endorsing both Del. Walter E. Fauntroy and Jarvis for mayor.
Eddie Kornegay, president of Teamsters Joint Council 55, which has 18,000 members areawide and about 6,000 in the District, said the group's executive board was "pretty evenly split" between Jarvis and Fauntroy, two of the five Democrats running in the party's Sept. 11 primary election.
Robert L. Johnson, Fauntroy's campaign press secretary, and Jarvis's spokeswoman, Dawn Alexander, said they did not believe the split vote by the seven-member executive board diluted the importance of the labor group's endorsement, which is widely viewed as one of the more important in D.C. elections.
Several thousand employees in the D.C. Corrections Department belong to the Teamsters.
Alexander said Jarvis received four executive board votes, adding that the margin represented "a vote of confidence that Jarvis is a people's candidate and sensitive to the issues of working people."
Johnson said the votes for Fauntroy testified to the congressional delegate's "long record of support for the labor union movement."
"Rank-and-file union members identify with Fauntroy," he said.
Several senior Teamsters leaders said privately that they believed mayoral candidate David A. Clarke, the chairman of the D.C. Council, has the strongest pro-labor record. However, they said Clarke failed to win any executive board votes because of the group's perception that he faced difficulties in the primary, in part because he is the only white candidate for mayor.
Lawyer Sharon Pratt Dixon is also running for mayor in the Democratic primary.
Kornegay said he did not believe the split vote diminished the value of the Teamster endorsement.