One day after Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he is supporting the two incumbents in the D.C. Council at-large race, many of the other members on the 12-member body said they won’t be endorsing a candidate.
In interviews with The Washington Post, council members Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) said they will not be endorsing a candidate in the at large race.
Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) also said on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt on Monday that she is “out of the endorsement business.”
In the Nov. 6 election, council members Michael A. Brown (I) and Vincent B. Orange (D) are seeking reelection. Often, in general election campaigns, incumbent council members can count on the support of their colleagues, particularly if they are running as the Democratic nominee.
But in conversations with members Tuesday, only council members Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) said they plan to publicly state their support for Brown and Orange. Neither, however, appeared as though they will be working hard between now and the election for their favored candidates.
“It is my intention to vote for Brown and Orange,” Graham said.
Barry told The Post this month that he also was backing Orange and Brown. But Barry said he would be telling voters in his ward that he’s still not happy that Brown failed to expand the boundaries of Ward 8 when he chaired the council redistricting committee last year, a point Barry reiterated Tuesday.
Several of the other members said they have no plans to make any statements about the race.
“I have three candidates,” said Bowser, who is running unopposed in the November election. “Barack Obama, Muriel Bowser and D. Kamili Anderson.” (Anderson is running unopposed for the Ward 4 Board of Education seat.)
Alexander also stressed that she is focused on her own campaign this fall against Republican Ronald Moten.
In an interview, council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) said he “could” support a challenger in the at-large race, but as of now “is not making any endorsements in these races.” Catania is not on the ballot this year.
Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), also not up for reelection this year, said in an interview that he’s considering wading into the at-large race but has not made a final decision.
Mendelson(D) said Monday that he is supporting Brown and Orange because he “always supports” his colleagues.
In addition to Brown and Orange, Republican Mary Brooks Beatty, Green Party Candidate Ann C. Wilcox and independent candidates David Grosso, A.J. Cooper and Leon Swain are vying for the two at-large seats, one of which is reserved for a non-Democrat.