Candidates & Races to Watch
Six Councilmembers out of thirteen, are coming up for reelection in 2020. Four of the six – Robert White (at-large), Brandon Todd (Ward 4), Vincent Gray (Ward 7), and Trayon White (Ward 8) — have formed campaign committees for 2020 and/or have indicated their intention to run. David Grosso (at-large) will not seek a third term and Jack Evans (Ward 2) has not announced his intentions.
At large (Democrat)
CM Robert White is not facing any Democratic challengers to date.
|Office||Incumbent / Committee||Party||Challengers||Notes / Priorities|
|At-large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
(since Sept. 2016)
Chair of: Committee on Facilities and Procurement
Friends of Robert White
|Democrat||Native Washingtonian, White is a lawyer and former Community Outreach Director for DC Attorney General Karl Racine. He was appointed in 2016 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Vincent Orange. He was endorsed by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh in his 2016 re-election.
Priorities include: education, job creation, housing, good government, public safety
At large (Independent)
Five independents are all vying for Grosso’s seat including most notably, Grosso’s former staff member, Christina Henderson who works for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Henderson has already received Grosso’s endorsement. Her priorities include improvements to education and the availability of affordable healthcare and housing.
|At-large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
(since Sept. 2013)
Chair of: Committee on Education
||Grosso will NOT see re-election and has endorsed former Committee on Education staffer, Christina Henderson.
Seven challengers are all vying to replace CM Evans but with such a crowded field, it could be an advantage for Evans should he decide to run. Even if Evans is expelled from his current term, he is not prohibited from running for the same office in the primary. See below for more on CM Evans.
|Ward 2 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
Chair of: Committee on Finance and Revenue (former)
||Has not announced his intention to seek re-election. Amid a federal investigation into ethics issues, some groups and elected neighborhood commissioners have demanded Evans resign from the Council, none of his colleagues have done so. Some activists are trying to force a recall election against Evans by collecting signatures from more than 5,000 registered voters in Ward 2. The Council voted to approve a measure removing Evans as chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. The resolution also authorized a council-appointed investigation into Evans’ conflicts of interest.|
CM Todd is facing two opponents: Janeese Lewis George and Renee Bowser (no relation to the Mayor). Lewis George is a native Washingtonian, a former assistant to DC Attorney General Karl Racine and currently serves as a Ward 4 Democratic Party activist. She has received five endorsements including: DC Working Families Party, DC for Democracy, DC Black Lives Matter, Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund, DC DSA.
|Ward 4 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
Chair of: Committee on Government Operations
Re-Elect Brandon Todd 2020
||Native Washingtonian and handpicked successor of Mayor Bowser who has served on the Council since 2015.
Priorities include: expanding services for seniors, improving education in D.C. schools, supporting economic development and small business growth, and improving the quality and safety of District neighborhoods.
Veda Rasheed is former Mayor Gray’s strongest contender. She is a lawyer and currently serves as an ANC Commissioner. But CM Gray still has an established record and high name recognition.
|Ward 7 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
Chair of: Committee on Health
||Prior to his time on the Council, Gray served the sixth elected Mayor and prior to that he served as the Ward 7 Councilmember and Chair of the Council from 2005-2011.
He has focused much of his legislative energy on health care (building a new hospital at St. Elizabeths) and early childhood education initiative, Birth-To-Three.
CM Trayon White is facing four challengers but White maintains high name recognition.
|Ward 8 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia
Chair of: Committee on Recreation and Youth Affairs
||Has not announced whether he intends to seek re-election.
White, a native Washingtonian former community activist and former Ward 8 representative on the DC State Board of Education, received support from DC Attorney General Karl Racine.
Dates to Remember
The District of Columbia will hold a primary election on June 2, 2020. The general election will take place November 3, 2020 and is considered more of a formality given the District of Columbia is primarily Democratic. If any of the incumbents are unsuccessful in the June 2, 2020 primary election, they will remain in office until 11:59pm on January 2, 2021.
This will be the District’s first election cycle post the Council’s approval of the Fair Elections Amendment Act of 2018 which establishes a publicly funded campaign program that became effective after the November 2018 election. The law, fully funded ($2.8M) by the Council this fiscal year, establishes the Fair Elections Program, housed within the DC Office of Campaign Finance. The program is voluntary and will provide public funding for the financing of campaigns through a combination of matching funds and lump sum base amounts ($160,000 for mayor and $40,000 for Council). Candidates for mayor, attorney general, all Council seats including chair, and the State Board of Education are eligible to participate in the public campaign program.
The regulation of the financial operations of those candidates who do not elect to participate in the Fair Elections program, will remain subject to the existing reporting requirements of the Campaign Finance Act. Campaign contribution limits are as follows:
- At-Large Councilmember: $1000
- Ward Councilmember: $500
As a reminder, no person may make contributions to any one political committee or political action committee in any one election, including primary and general elections, but excluding special elections, that in the aggregate exceed $5,000. The next filing deadline for candidates participating in the 2020 election is December 10, 2019.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans
CM Evans is accused of using his influence as a city official, as well as his government email, for the benefit of potential business opportunities. On Tuesday, December 3, the Council’s Ad Hoc Committee in the Matter of Councilmember Evans, unanimously voted to recommend that he be expelled from his Ward 2 seat, due to eleven instances of ethical misconduct, as identified by O’Melveny and Myers, the law firm retained by the Council to conduct the investigation. An official vote is expected to happen in January. It is highly unlikely that any of the members will change their mind between now and then.
If the council votes to expel Evans, his seat will be vacated immediately. The DC elections board will then have to schedule a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of his term, which ends January 2021. The board will likely have the flexibility to time the special election to coincide with the June 2 Democratic primary, where Evans is already facing seven challengers. And, Councilmember Evans, who has not stated whether he intends to run for re-election, is not prohibited from being a candidate for the same office in the primary. So Ward 2 could be facing two different elections on June 2: a special election, which is open to all Ward 2 residents regardless of party affiliation, and the Democratic primary, which is limited to only those residents registered as a Democrat.
According to the DC Board of Elections, a petition demanding a recall of an elected official must be signed by at least 10-percent of the registered voters and filed with DCBOE. According to DCBOE, approximately 5,000 signatures from registered Ward 2 residents would need to be gathered and validated by the Board. If the number of signatures meets the statutory requirements, the petition is certified, and a recall election is scheduled. The recall effort organized by Adam Eidinger collected a little over 5,600 signatures. On Thursday, December 5, the DCBOE determined that out of the signatures submitted, only 3,885 were valid. As a result, the Board determined that the petitioners lacked the requisite amount of signatures thereby halting the effort. The petitioners could file an appeal in DC Superior Court.
The recall effort may be a moot point now that the Ad Hoc Committee unanimously voted to recommend expelling Evans from office. And, Mayor Bowser stated that she supports the Committee’s recommendation.
We will continue to provide updates as throughout the campaign.