The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Muriel Bowser gets the Post nod

Bowser launched her campaign in March in front of her childhood home in Ward 5. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The Washington Post’s endorsement for the fast-approaching Democratic primary begins thusly: “If this were an ordinary election year in the District of Columbia, we probably would back Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) for reelection.” The editorial board (which is separate from the news staff) notes that the city appears to be generally on the right track, with finances in good order, school test scores on the rise, and the population continuing to grow. But, they write, the circumstances around Gray’s 2010 campaign and his refusal to be forthcoming about those events … strike us as close to disqualifying.” The nod instead goes to D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who has “articulated an agenda that balances the need for continued economic growth with an understanding of the stresses growth can bring” and “would be a force for continued progress … while working to help people and neighborhoods that might otherwise be left behind.” The endorsement is perhaps the best fuel yet for the narrative, pushed heartily by Bowser’s campaign, that she is the leading challenger to Gray. And it comes nearly a month before early voting begins — plenty of time for Bowser to tout the endorsement in neighborhoods where it matters the most.

In other news:

Feds arrest two dozen in Medicaid fraud schemes that cost taxpayers tens of million of dollars (PostAP)

Mary Oates Walker, embattled chief administrative law judge, responds to ethics charges, says underlings are hellbent on discrediting her (Post)

Irv Nathan disses reworked marijuana legalization referendum, says it would violate federal laws on drug use in public housing (PostWAMU-FMWaTimesAP)

And Deborah Simmons is pleased about that (WaTimes)

Perry Street Prep high school loses its charter; KIPP agrees to take over another troubled school (Post)

David Catania and D.C. Vote take voting-rights roadshow to New Hampshire (AP)

Joseph Brown’s death on the Sousa Bridge leaves questions about uncleared sidewalks (PostGGW)

Report on Cecil Mills death expected to be released today (AP)

Vincent Orange’s official campaign song is “Happy,” don’t ya know (Loose Lips)

Ward 6 union endorsements: AFSCME goes with Darrel Thompson; police and fire unions go with Charles Allen (Loose Lips)

Allen vs. Thompson on education (GGW)

Some mayoral candidates have taken to parroting a widely debunked claim (Loose Lips)

Ye gods: If both Jim Graham and David Catania lose this year, there would be no openly gay politicians in major D.C. elective office (Blade column)

The case against loosening the right to shelter (Post column)

Corcoran deal stands to make D.C.’s largest university even larger (Post)

No, police say, Mary Cheh’s daughter wasn’t technically kidnapped (WTTG-TV)

But the Taxicab Commission wants your complaints (WRC-TV)

Carver-Langston woman’s mugging is caught on tape (WRC-TV)

Dedicated lanes or signal priority are the only ways to increase 16th Street bus capacity, Metro says (Dr. Gridlock)

Redesigned Franklin Park could include playground, public restrooms (Housing ComplexWAMU-FM)

Believe it or not, D.C. is only fifth most unequal American city by income (DCist)

D.C. Water GM swears he isn’t trying to hold up Yards redevelopment (WBJ)

CityCenter office space is nearly all leased (WBJ)

Bike council pushes DDOT to do a better job creating and maintaining bicycle facilities (DCist)

Alleged Chris Brown punchee files $3 million lawsuit in Superior Court (WTTG-TV)

“I am a 62-year-old African American male and native Washingtonian who abhors and eschews any effort to make race a key factor in this election” (Post letter)

Washington Monument still expected to reopen for cherry blossom season (WTOP)

Injured owl is recovering, eating lots of rats (WTOP)

A D.C. resident has earned an Olympic medal … for Switzerland (Post)