Since reports a few weeks ago that a committee in Ward 2 was organizing to try to persuade mayoral Chief of Staff Abdusalam Omer to run against D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), there have been rumors that Mayor Anthony A. Williams's supporters were trying to put together a slate of council candidates.
In almost every ward that will have an election this year, a name or two is floating around as a potential "Williams candidate."
For months, political activists said that Max Brown, the mayor's legal counsel, was organizing the slate. Brown and Omer--who says there is no way he would run for council--say that the mayor's office has done nothing to organize a council slate and that Brown is about to leave the administration for a lucrative private-sector job.
Still, the names of potential Williams candidates continue to pop up in local political circles, fueled by activists who want a D.C. Council that is more closely aligned with the mayor's agenda.
For months, Williams supporter Norman Neverson was the one in Ward 4, but Neverson has apparently put those rumors to rest, saying he would support incumbent Democrat Charlene Drew Jarvis. A spokesman for Jarvis said the Williams administration has assured the council member that she's on their team.
In Ward 7, the names of other Williams draft movement organizers, now city workers, are circulating as challengers to Kevin P. Chavous (D). Lucy Murray and Paul Savage top that list, though neither is expected to accept the call.
In Ward 8, Lafayette Barnes, who works in the mayor's office, is being touted by some activists as a potential challenger to Democrat Sandy Allen.
Joyce Scott, chairman of finance and fund-raising for the Ward 8 Democrats, said that in some areas being considered, "the mayor's candidate" may not be helpful.
"I understand the mayor does want his people in place so that way he can control the council and the school board," Scott said. "I think it's pretty dangerous, particularly from an outsider. He was lucky to come in here and get the mayor's seat."
A high-ranking official in the mayor's office said that Williams is not going to mount campaigns against any of the incumbent council members.
Others say that Williams has instructed his top aides to get behind the incumbents because the mayor knows how difficult it could be for him if he supported a newcomer and that candidate lost.
"We're not supporting anyone," one top Williams aide said. "We're happy with the council we're working with."