D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells to run for mayor

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Another D.C. council member is throwing his hat in the ring to be the next mayor of D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells announced on Saturday that he will enter the 2014 mayoral race.

Wells spoke to a group of supporters on H Street in the District, saying there is a crisis of ethics inside city hall and he is committed to ending corruption.

He also said he is dedicated to creating more walkable and safe communities, reducing crime in the city and focusing on job creation.

"We're moving forward," he said. "We're bringing in new jobs. If we have a corrupt government, it's all at risk."

Wells is the second council member to announce a mayoral bid; Councilwoman Muriel Bowser told supporters in March she was seeking election. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has not announced whether he will run, but rumors have circulated that he will seek re-election.

Gray has had campaign problems in the past though, some of which Bowser alluded to in her speech. Federal officials have been investigating whether there was illegal activity happening within Gray's 2010 campaign. A former Gray campaign aide has admitted to facilitating a $650,000 "shadow campaign," though the mayor has denied any knowledge of such activity.

Wells said the current corruption in D.C. government hurts the growth of the city, and if he was elected, he would restore integrity and create a city where change was influenced by people -- not money.

"I will be a champion for good government," he said.

After his announcement, he entertained supporters at The Crown Victoria on H Street, where cheers of "Tommy, Tommy!" filled the bar.

One supporter, Sufi Laghari, 47, of the District, said he came to hear Wells speak after contacting him a few weeks ago about an issue in his neighborhood. Laghari said he emailed Wells and got a quick, personalized response and was impressed. He was even more impressed when he saw Wells speak about community issues that got everyone in the crowd -- including him -- excited about change.

"He's got the energy," he said. "He really speaks from the heart."

Nona Richardson, 45, of the District, attended Wells' after party. She said she wasn't entirely sure she should vote for him, but she said hearing his ideas and what issues he is behind makes her inclined to cast her ballot in his favor.

She said she's been watching Wells' career for the past few years and has noticed he has integrity and principles that set him apart from others in D.C. politics.

"He can intelligently discuss issues," she said. "I didn't always agree with him, but I liked how he presented himself. I don't think he's a partisan person. He has a concern for outcomes."

kjacobson@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kate Jacobson

Montgomery County reporter
The Washington Examiner