Councilman Tommy Wells set to enter D.C. mayoral race

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Vincent Gray,David Catania,Tommy Wells,Jack Evans,Muriel Bowser

After months of publicly flirting with a citywide run for public office, D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells will on Saturday enter the 2014 mayoral race.

Wells, who launched an exploratory committee in February after hinting last summer that he would run, said on Monday that will formally open his campaign during a Saturday afternoon event at Starburst Plaza in Northeast D.C.

"I've spent three months meeting with residents in every ward of the city, and I hear the same message over and over," Wells said in an email to supporters. "D.C. residents want an honest, ethical government that can help build strong neighborhoods."

The 2014 campaign will mark Wells' first foray as a citywide candidate. Before winning the Ward 6 seat on the D.C. Council, he was a member of the D.C. Board of Education and an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

Wells' announcement was widely expected, and he will be the second D.C. lawmaker to announce a run for the city's top job.

Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser declared her candidacy in March, and two other legislators, at-large Councilman David Catania and Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, are considering mounting campaigns of their own.

Mayor Vincent Gray, who last year defied calls for his resignation amid a rash of guilty pleas from former campaign aides, has not said whether he will seek a second term.

Wells' decision to run for mayor will create an open seat in Ward 6, which includes Capitol Hill and NoMa.

Political observers have speculated that Charles Allen, Wells' chief of staff, and Elissa Silverman, a progressive activist who was defeated in a D.C. Council special election last month, could seek the job.

"A lot of people have asked me about what's next for me, and I'm considering my options right now," said Silverman.

Allen said that he would decide later whether to run.

"That's a ways off," Allen said. "It's a decision I'll make with my family, but not one that needs to be made today."

The Democratic primaries for mayor and the Ward 6 seat are set for April 1, 2014, although city lawmakers are considering a plan that would delay it until June 2014.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner