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In nod to statehood bid, Bowser admitted to Democratic Governors Association

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser wears a DC Vote mask during a news conference in 2020.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser wears a DC Vote mask during a news conference in 2020. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The Democratic Governors Association on Tuesday welcomed D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser into its ranks, marking the latest effort by Democratic leaders to support making the District the nation’s 51st state.

Announcing the move on CNN, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who chairs the association, acknowledged that Bowser is not a governor. But citing the mayor’s role in advocating for D.C. residents and combating the coronavirus pandemic in the city, Lujan Grisham asserted that Bowser is already “an executive leader in the District working on all of the things Democratic governors are responsible [for].”

Lujan Grisham’s announcement comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) dealt a blow to statehood advocates by announcing that he does not support legislation that would admit D.C. as a state.

Manchin, one of a handful of Senate Democrats who had not signed on to co-sponsor the bill, said he thinks that a constitutional amendment would be required to confer statehood — a position taken by many Republicans in both chambers.

Will D.C. become a state? Explaining the hurdles to statehood.

Asked on CNN whether she thought Manchin’s stance meant the statehood bill was “dead on arrival” in the Senate, Bowser said no, but she acknowledged there is “work to do.”

The statehood bill passed the House on a strict party-line vote last month, for the second time in history. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has promised to try to find a way for it to succeed in his 50-50 chamber, though the filibuster rule — which requires 60 votes on most bills — makes the odds seem near-impossible.

While advocates and most Democratic leaders have described statehood for the plurality-Black, overwhelmingly Democratic city a matter of voting rights and racial justice, Republicans dismiss it as a ploy to increase the number of Democrats in Congress.

“We function as a state in so many ways, we’re treated as a state throughout federal law,” Bowser said on CNN. “What’s missing is two senators to represent us in the Senate so we’ll be like every other taxpaying American.”