The Washington Post

The Ward 5 special election contenders

Who’s going to fill this office? (Super-secret Wilson Building source)

Now Ward 5 gets to replace him. A special election will be scheduled next week, likely for early May, not long after Thomas is sentenced.

Like pretty much every Ward 5 race, it’s going to be crowded. Ward resident Vincent Orange (D-At Large), who said he would “fill the leadership void” while the seat is vacant indicated Thursday he’d like to see a more orderly race. He seems to think he might get one if he can get all of Ward 5’s leaders in a room at Israel Baptist Church on Monday night, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

Here is a lengthy but not exhaustive list of potential candidates I have been able to personally contact in the past two days:

Anita Bonds, D.C. Democratic State Committee chairwoman, Bloomingdale resident: Bonds told my colleague Nikita Stewart that she was undecided on a run. “If I run, will you support me?” she asked some fellow Democrats at a Thursday night meeting. She added: “At this moment in Ward 5, there are 10,000 leaders. What you need to figure out is who is willing to empower others.”

Robert Brannum, political and community activist extraordinaire, Bloomingdale resident: “If my name has been put out, I’m flattered,” said Brannum, a friend and stalwart supporter of Thomas. “I have always considered my options to serve the people of Ward 5.” That said, “It is always prudent and best not to make rash decisions at times like this.”

Tim Day, accountant, Brookland resident: The man who had a big role in starting the investigations that led to Thomas’s departure is mulling another run. “Where do I best fit?” he says he’s trying to figure out. “Running a campaign is quite disruptive to someone’s personal life.” Asked if he’d run as a Republican again, he said, “that’s an intersting question.”

Kathy Henderson , Carver-Langston community activist extraordinaire. A frequent candidate, Henderson is all in for another run for the Ward 5 throne. “I’m at my best when advocating for others. I will certainly would not turn down the opportunity to advocate for all of Ward 5.”

Drew Hubbard, top staffer on the D.C. Council housing committee, Woodridge resident: “I am considering it, yes.” Says he’s going to “talk to more people in the ward” and make a decision next week.

Delano Hunter, community organizer, Edgewood resident: Hunter, who came in second to Thomas in the 2010 Democratic primary, has made no secret that he intends to seek the seat again. He confimed his intentions Thursday.

Mark Jones, businessman, former mayoral aide, current State Board of Education member: If he were to run, Jones would hold the distinction of being the only candidate to have already won ward-wide elected office. But he’s thinking it over. “This may sound Pollyanna-ish, but my concern is two special elections if I am succesful,” he said, citing the cost. He’s talking to family and “advisers.”

Ron Magnus, attorney, Brookland resident: “I am thinking about it,” he said Thursday, but he’s in no particular rush. “Right now we need to be focused on what’s best for Ward 5, doing what’s best for the Thomas family.” That said, Magnus said the ward needs “someone who can hit the ground running, who knows the city very well and knows the govenrment.”

Jacqueline Manning, advisory neighborhood commissioner, Arboretum resident. “No comment,” she said Friday.

Kenyan McDuffie, former federal prosecutor; Stronghold/Eckington resident. “I will be jumping in the race,” McDuffie said Thursday. Today he resigned his post as a policy analyst for Deputy Mayor Paul Quander to pursue a second run for the Ward 5 seat.

Eric Jones, construction industry lobbyist, Bloomingdale resident: He’s not running, as it “wouldn’t make sense” given that his base of support overlaps with other likely candidates.

Frank Wilds, businessman, Riggs Park resident: Wilds, long a ward muckamuck, has kept relatively quiet since coming in second to Thomas in the 2006 primary. But he says it’s “highly possible” he’ll run again. “I think I have high name recognition in the ward,” he said. “I think people in this word are going to be looking for someone with integrity to get this ward back on track.”

If you’re pondering a Ward 5 run and I didn’t have the good sense or good sources to call you, tell me in the comments.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.


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