Councilman Robert White considers DC the mayor

Councilman Robert White considers DC the mayor

Large member of the DC Council Robert White at a rostrum.
Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Democratic Grand Councilor Robert White is considering jumping into the district’s mayoral race, his two-time campaign chair tells Axios.

Why it is important: White would immediately become the strongest rival to Mayor Muriel Bowser for leading the nation’s capital. He is taking a “hard look at a race for mayor,” Mathew Frumin, president of his two successful major campaigns, said in a text. “No more to add about it now.”

  • White did not return any more calls and text messages seeking comment.
  • Veteran DC journalist Tom Sherwood first tweeted Wednesday that White can file papers as early as next week, citing an anonymous source.

Plots: Bowser is expected to seek a third term, though she has not yet announced her intention.

  • “There’s just no need to advertise early,” a Bowser adviser told Axios. “We know she can raise money. She has name recognition. ”
  • Bowser would be the first mayor since Marion Barry to seek a third term.
  • During her tenure, she has avoided the kind of paralyzing scandals that plagued her predecessors and had a 67% approval rating in a November 2019 Washington Post poll.

Between the lines: White’s participation in the race may keep other participants out.

  • “Politically, it’s smart for Robert to come in now, because that’s basically everyone who participates in the race says Bowser’s re-election assures, “says political consultant Chuck Thies to Axios.
  • Attorney General Karl Racine has played with running for mayor, but has not yet announced a final decision.

Link: White is halfway through his second term and would not risk losing his seat by running for mayor.

  • The 39-year-old is a fifth-generation Washingtonian who won his seat in 2018 with the support of several progressive democratic groups.

What they say: Critics of Bowser hope White will be the first competitive challenger ever to the mayor, who in 2018 ran for re-election without facing major rivals.

  • “You have to be a candidate for change” to take on a seat, said Independent At-large Council member Elissa Silverman, often an ally of White. “So the question is, what would a Mayor White change?”
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