A D.C. Council member became the first to officially launch a campaign for mayor Saturday, a year ahead of the primary election for the post.
Council member Muriel Bowser unveiled her year-long primary campaign in front of more than 100 supporters at her childhood home in North Michigan Park, the Washington Post reported. Her announcement beat out even current D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who has not yet confirmed that he will run again.
Bowser did not name Gray directly in her announcement but said, “Corruption has robbed us of our focus, our momentum, our need to think big and act swiftly,” the Post reported. She won reelection in November for Ward 4.
Foggy Bottom’s Council representative Jack Evans has also expressed interest in the contest.
Evans, a Georgetown resident, said he would likely run for mayor at a DC Students Speak meeting on campus in October. He confirmed his plans to run in the city’s Democratic primary at a Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting March 20.
“I certainly intend to run in that primary,” he said to Foggy Bottom residents, but he has yet to officially announce a campaign.
The 58-year-old became the longest-serving D.C. Council member in February, after he coasted in an unopposed sixth term in the fall. First elected in 1991, Evans lost a bid for the mayor’s office to Anthony Williams in 1998.
Gray has denied reports that he would not seek a second term, though his office has writhed under allegations that Gray had illegally funneled thousands of dollars into his 2010 campaign against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The federal government launched a probe into the alleged “shadow campaign,” and a former aid confirmed in July that the campaign picked up $653,800 in illegal donations. The investigation is ongoing.
Gray emphasized a five-year economic plan and affordable housing at his annual State of the District address in February, and has pushed for other long-term initiatives such as environmental sustainability.
Two other Council members have hinted at bids for mayor as well.