Greater Greater Washington

For DC Mayor: Tommy Wells

Tommy Wells is the best candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia. He has the strongest vision for the future on transit, housing affordability, education, social services, and many other subjects. We urge voters in the Democratic primary to cast their ballots for Tommy Wells. You can vote in person on April 1, or in early voting starting March 17.


Photo from Tommy Wells on Flickr.

As regular readers know, many editors and contributors grappledsometimes publiclywith the question of whom to support. A minority of contributors chose current Mayor Vincent Gray in our endorsement poll, but of those almost all did so for strategic game theory reasons while still believing Wells was best on the issues.

That game theory may well have gone out the window Monday with revelations about the 2010 "shadow campaign" for Mayor Gray. However, even before then, the consensus among contributors for Wells was strong.

Wells' strengths

Wells clearly understands the forces that shape our city more deeply and thoroughly than any other mayoral candidate. On transportation, he does not just rattle off a list of projects he helped fund on the council, or give platitudes about schedules, community support, or process. Rather, he has very good insights into what is working well and poorly.

He wants to see important progress but also has a very critical skepticism of simply letting people inside District agencies run wild in what could well be the wrong direction. On transit, he has strongly pushed for better bus service, something that most politicians (including Mayor Gray) either ignore or just pay lip service to.

Wells also believes in good planning, and in particular planning that ensures less fortunate residents are able to stay in the city through affordable housing, affordable transportation, and much more. He proposes many specific ideas, like his "flex buildings" concept (which is far more than just a "slogan" despite the opinion of the Washington Post editorial board).

On education, he was the only candidate who went beyond banal statements like "all neighborhood schools should be good." He is the only candidate willing to explore more significant ways to close the achievement gap, beyond a small laundry list of minor programs.

Many of our contributors were particularly swayed by their feeling that Wells would appoint smart, capable agency heads who would actively formulate a vision and push to realize it. Here were some of their comments:

"The only candidate I see as selecting good appointees or pressuring DDOT and OP to make the right changes is Tommy Wells."

"Wells' vision for the city is inclusive and progressive. He has a track record of hiring stellar public servants to work with him, and I would like to see that play out on a city-wide level, particularly for appointed departmental heads, which has been part of my frustration with Gray as Mayor."

"Wells is the most progressive candidate in the race. Of those with a public service background, he is the only one without some sort of ethics cloud hanging over him. He is not perfect, but he is the best choice in a flawed field."

"He has been the biggest supporter of ... smart growth, equitable transportation policy, good government, strong education, etc., of all of the candidates there over the long term.

No candidate is perfect. No elected official can be a saint (City Paper nicknames aside). We don't, and won't, agree with everything Tommy Wells stands for or would do as mayor. Some supporters were disappointed by his ready defense of the height limit; others befuddled by his vote on the Large Retailer Accountability Act (the "Walmart bill"). But these are issues about which not everyone in the Greater Greater Washington community agrees.

What about Mayor Gray?

It's clear that Gray has championed many issues we care about at Greater Greater Washington. Residents who predicted he would rip out Fenty-era innovations like cycletracks once in office, despite his public statements that he supported bicycle infrastructure, have now come around. The city is moving in a positive direction. One contributor who voted for Gray in the poll wrote,

Shadow campaign aside, Mayor Gray is advancing all of the initiatives that GGW discusses in advocacy. Sustainable DC, which is fully a brainchild of Gray's administration, is a progressive plan that calls for us to begin to make tough decisions as a city. It has been more than a plan, the city is moving forward with specific plans and actions as a result. I'd prefer to stay the course than to lose 1 to 1½ years of momentum for an administration change.
However, contributors had some significant reservations as well (even before this last round of revelations about the shadow campaign). The biggest among those was the quality of Gray's appointments to agencies. Indeed, the main architect of the Sustainable DC plan was planning director Harriet Tregoning, who was one of those Gray kept in office from the Fenty administration, but who recently stepped down.

Gray's record on new appointments has been more disappointing. For example, it is often hard to tell whether DDOT head Terry Bellamy is providing meaningful leadership at that agency, which seems aimless and uncoordinated. Sometimes DDOT pushes forward on important initiatives, but often simply lapses into inaction or lets inertia continue work on bad projects from a past era.

One contributor (who also voted to endorse Gray) wrote,

I'm pretty okay with the policy direction Gray has taken. I am less thrilled with some of his department heads, most of whom seem to have no vision and are bad at managing. I know the most about DDOT, and Bellamy can't even get his internal folks to talk to each other, much less to get some paint down on a bike lane.
Some were far more strongly negative, citing, for instance, the recent homelessness crisis where the Gray administration crammed people in recreation centers in terrible conditions. His strongest critic among our contributors wrote,
Strategic voting for Gray is being floated by folks who don't appear to mind if DC grows into a playground for the wealthy, a future that neither Bowser nor Gray have a plan to prevent and GGW opposes. Gray cut money from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund the first 2 years of his administration, something that seems quickly forgotten by those thanking him for his $100 million pledge last year.

He was further to the right of the Chamber of Commerce on the minimum wage, opposing indexing it to inflation, which [the Chamber] supported. And he had no plan for winter at DC General even though it was full when winter began, and in response to the crisis asked for power to keep families out of shelter on freezing nights if DHS claimed it found friends willing take them in for a couple nights.

It's worth noting that any mayor will have some issues where they fall shortcertainly Fenty did, and if elected, Wells would too. Still, these are important concerns.

More importantly, even if Gray is the second-best candidate (now perhaps only true if Jeffrey Thompson is lying and Gray really knew nothing of the "shadow campaign"), a strong majority of contributors and editors still felt confident making the endorsement for Tommy Wells.

What about the rest?

Our contributors and editors were not impressed by any other candidate in the field. Jack Evans has made it clear, in his statements and actions, that he stands very firmly against inconveniencing the wealthiest and most powerful Washingtonians, whether in terms of accommodating a wider range of income levels in their neighborhoods, or having to share the road with other modes in a way that causes any appreciable hassle.

Muriel Bowser is trying to rise to the top of DC's political world by being concerned about anything that agitates residents. She has been the quickest of all on the council to introduce resolutions blocking administration action that angered some peoplesometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly.

She is extremely smart and very talented at making statements that sound like she's agreeing with you, such as praising the DC Zoning Update to the rafters with the tiny caveat that she has 4 little quibblesthe only 4 significant policy shifts in the proposal, and the items that some people in the most exclusive neighborhoods of Ward 4 are fighting against the hardest.

Andy Shallal has a lot of good basic values but unfortunately lacks an understanding of the deeper implications of various government actions. It's easy to say that we shouldn't close schools or unfairly give away land to developers, but not as easy to develop a realistic plan for how to get better education and more housing.

Vincent Orange did not follow up to our request for an interview, nor does he have a platform that warrants consideration for mayor. No other candidates appear to have any significant level of support.

Conclusion

Tommy Wells has agreed with the Greater Greater Washington community on many issues during his years in office. But April Fools jokes aside, our endorsement was never a foregone conclusion. We made him jump through the same hoops as anyone else such as the video interviews, asked tough questions, and listened carefully to his responses. Our editorial team vigorously debated the merits of Mayor Gray's candidacy before coming to an endorsement decision.

However, it's clear from looking at the candidates' records, their statements, and recent actions that Tommy Wells is the best mayoral contender. He deserves our support, especially given the latest news about Gray's 2010 campaign but independent of that as well. We hope DC voters in the Democratic primary on April 1, or voting early beginning March 17, will cast their ballots for Tommy Wells.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington. To determine endorsements, we invite regular contributors and editors to participate in a survey about their preferences and opinions about upcoming races. The editorial board then decides whether to make an endorsement based on the responses in the survey and whether there is a clear consensus.

For more information on the mayoral contenders and their views, see our video interviews with the candidates on housing supply, affordable housing, bus lanes, streetcars, charter schools, and middle schools.

You can sign up for more information, volunteer, and/or contribute to Tommy Wells' campaign at tommywells.org.

Also see our other endorsements in the April 1 Democratic primary: Brianne Nadeau in Ward 1, Kenyan McDuffie in Ward 5, and Charles Allen in Ward 6.

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Comments

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Surprise!

by @ShawingtonTimes on Mar 12, 2014 11:27 am • linkreport

You did not mention race. Even if Wells is better than Gray on issues of transportation and development (despite being weaker on the Height Act, and relatively quiet on smart growth and transportation in the campaign) there are two more questions, one more general, and one GGW specific A. Is DC ready for a white mayor? To what extent would any white mayor provoke renewed focus in the African American on "the plan", on the demographic changes in DC, etc - a focus that would be damaging to the city's progress B. To what extent would having the first white mayor be Tommy Wells, someone strongly identified with smart growth, transit, and walking/biking, solidify the identification some african americans make between those issues and issues of racial politics and identiy - IOW, to what extent would it solidify opposition to smart growth and alternate transportation among african americans? An identification that appears to have softened a bit under the current administration.

Of course the recent revelations make it very hard for progressives to support the mayor. It is perhaps fortunate that Wells has minimal chance of being elected, so this is a "free" vote. It is also fortunate that he will likely be succeeded as CM by his chief of staff, so there is no net loss of a smart growth voice on the council.

by TheSilentFactor on Mar 12, 2014 11:38 am • linkreport

TheSilentFactor, I think you give the African Americans in this city far too little credit.

by Zeus on Mar 12, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

Zeus +1

by guest1 on Mar 12, 2014 11:44 am • linkreport

I have a hard time taking this seriously because you endorsed Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty the last time around.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/7103/have-faith-in-our-ideas-and-vote-gray/

by a skeptic on Mar 12, 2014 11:47 am • linkreport

a skeptic: Those were personal endorsements and not official. We didn't have an official endorsement process yet at that time. This is the official one from a poll of contributors and collaboratively decided by the editors.

by David Alpert on Mar 12, 2014 11:49 am • linkreport

Tommy Wells is surging in these last few weeks. I just hope it's enough momentum to get passed the stalled Muriel Bowser and the sinking Vince Gray.

by JGW on Mar 12, 2014 11:59 am • linkreport

zeus and guest1

I hope you are correct. In any case, we are unlikely to find out this time around, and by 2018 the demographics will have shifted further.

by TheSilentFactor on Mar 12, 2014 12:08 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert

Setting technicalities aside, the 2010 Gray endorsement effectively served as the official endorsement of GGW, at least in the eyes of many readers. Given that, it would be good to have a more extensive explanation about why Gray has fallen out of favor. I understand and agree with the points raised in this post, but given your 2010 choice, I think some readers, myself included, would like to dig a little deeper into the issues with Gray. I certainly don't expect GGW to recant or defend its 2010 decision, but simply more input would be interesting to hear. Just a thought!

by MJ on Mar 12, 2014 12:09 pm • linkreport

There needs to be a new comprehensive poll in the next two weeks. I have no problem admitting that I will put my vote behind the front runner that isn't Bowser. I am going to give serious thought to Catania as well.

by BTA on Mar 12, 2014 12:10 pm • linkreport

Setting technicalities aside, the 2010 Gray endorsement effectively served as the official endorsement of GGW, at least in the eyes of many readers.

Guess they didn't pay attention then, since it was made clear over and over that it was David's personal endorsement.

I have no idea why this subject needs to be rehashed over and over. There was an endorsement for Gray in 2010, get over it. What is the value of bringing it up every time there is a DC politics topic on here?

by MLD on Mar 12, 2014 12:12 pm • linkreport

2010 is water under the bridge. 2014 is what matters now.

by BTA on Mar 12, 2014 12:13 pm • linkreport

tommy wells wasn't in the race 4 years ago. choosing between fenty & gray is a vastly different question than gray vs bowser vs wells vs evans.

i don't see any conflict. different situations demand different answers.

by ballston guy on Mar 12, 2014 12:17 pm • linkreport

If you vote for someone once you are obviously obligated to vote for them in all future elections no matter what, duh.

by drumz on Mar 12, 2014 12:19 pm • linkreport

I'm thrilled! I've been a long term supporter of Tommy and no politician in this city has ever impressed me more than he has. If you are not sure who to vote for, take an evening to go to one of his events and listen to what he has to say. Tommy is the real deal and the leadership we need to move our city forward for all! This city needs an ethical and progressive government. Make it happen by voting for Tommy!

by arm on Mar 12, 2014 12:27 pm • linkreport

Not only does Tommy Wells now have the endorsement of GGW, but he is the only candidate completely free of the current corruption scandal. We need your help to get him elected.
Go to http://www.tommywells.org/volunteer-events

by Mark Sussman on Mar 12, 2014 12:29 pm • linkreport

A very well thought out endorsement. I really like the vision set by Mayor Gray and have been impressed by his ability to connect across demographics, but the scandal combined with the dismal performance of the agency heads he has appointed (Bellamy in particular) is probably enough to sway me towards another candidate. I'll probably have to see one more poll to decide of strategic voting is worthwhile, but this makes a compelling case for Wells.

by dno on Mar 12, 2014 12:39 pm • linkreport

Should be interesting. Browser and Gray will split the black vote. Hard to see Wells being able to ramp it up in time.

On the "issues" I see why Wells won over. My concern about Wells is his ability to get people to follow him. Highly underated skill for a politican. In fact nothing he has done in the past four years has suggested that. Reminds me of the problems DeBlasio is having in NYC.

by charlie on Mar 12, 2014 12:39 pm • linkreport

"Is DC ready for a white mayor? Yes.

Does it matter what race he is? No.

by Thayer-D on Mar 12, 2014 12:40 pm • linkreport

If history and recent polls are correct, TSF's point B might not be too far off the mark. But it's equally important to note that Evans scores higher than Wells in EOTR neighborhoods as well as w/the overall black electorate.

The challenge w/Wells (not simply a white mayor) is that his most recent slogan never found modest appeal to black voters. So him as mayor becomes the case study for those who believe (as Bowser in panderform claimed) that people are more interested in providing economic development EOTR. This was debated even here during the Fenty era of the tired "care more about bike lanes, dog parks" meme. Irrespective of it's truth, the charge against him stuck.

I claimed here years ago that Wells was making a mistake in his effort to build a base w/in the smart growth community played into the deep-seated racial tensions in the city. With Wells receiving over 80% of support from white voters and single-digit support among black voters, it's not a stretch to suggest that having him as Mayor has the potential to be divisive in ways unseen.

OTOH, Bowser is the only candidate to split the black/white vote and might end up the beneficiary of those who vote w/their heart.

by HogWash on Mar 12, 2014 12:43 pm • linkreport

Looks like ya'll finally have enacted 'the plan'. congrats...you slow played us but you got us. i guess youl kick all us out of our city finally?

by Seen this coming on Mar 12, 2014 12:44 pm • linkreport

What most impressed me about the endorsement is that it didn't trot out the recent "he didn't build that" talking points uttered by Gray detractors. It's a ridiculous point to make.

I thought the endorsement made sense for GGW and other smart growth types vision for DC but don't think it has broader appeal. Hence, Wells polling 4th everywhere but in Wards 5/6. Wells' support throughout the city reflects that of his fellow CM's.

Can he really be the leader DC needs when he hasn't demonstrated an ability to build a broad coalition?

by HogWash on Mar 12, 2014 12:54 pm • linkreport

I'm sorry, but after Wells' opposition to Height Act changes and his pandering to NIMBYs on the campaign trail, he lost any chance I'd support him. Gray's corrupt, but at least he understands that housing supply needs to grow for DC to avoid becoming San Fran east.

by John C on Mar 12, 2014 1:03 pm • linkreport

My concern about Wells is his ability to get people to follow him. Highly underated skill for a politican. In fact nothing he has done in the past four years has suggested that.

Wells secured a veto-proof majority for min wage increase, then VO adding $1 and called it his bill.

Wells passed marijuana decrim, then got endorsed by the police union.

by Ken Archer on Mar 12, 2014 1:04 pm • linkreport

You know I don't have a problem believing that Wells can shift moderate when he needs to secure a majority, but I'm not convinced has the people behind him in the first place to get elected. I really hope we do get a poll because otherwise Gray is my safety candidate.

by BTA on Mar 12, 2014 1:11 pm • linkreport

2010 is water under the bridge. 2014 is what matters now. by BTA on Mar 12, 2014 12:13 pm

That's what Gray says!

by trulee_pist on Mar 12, 2014 1:12 pm • linkreport

That's what Gray says!

Because suspicion of criminal activity and who someone endorsed are the same thing? Hey-o false equivalence.

by MLD on Mar 12, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

I can agree Wells' platform is most closely aligned with GGW's stated goals. But his meaningless publicity stunts equate to a huge turn-off for me. Like others have already said, this election pretty much comes down voting for whoever has the best chance of overtaking Bowser.

by dcmike on Mar 12, 2014 1:34 pm • linkreport

Is there any indication (beyond wishful thinking) that Wells has any chance whatsoever to win the primary? I haven't seen any.

by Rob on Mar 12, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

Assuming Wells and Gray split the Anyone But Bowser vote and she wins the primary, what's the deal with Catania? Is he anti-smart growth? Seems like it would make sense for him to try to pick up Wells supporters given how much Bowser has antagonized us, but I have no idea if that's even within possibility.

by 11luke on Mar 12, 2014 1:45 pm • linkreport

Is DC ready for a white mayor?

What a question for the city that gave us Kwame Brown, Vincent Gray, and Marion Barry

by Lars Ulrich on Mar 12, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

Is DC ready for a white mayor?

Yes. In fact, we've already had one. Fenty is just as much white as Obama is black.

Also, of 11 District-wide elected offices, 6 are held by white people.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 1:51 pm • linkreport

Well, I will congratulate GGW actually picking someone they legitimately believe in, rather than abandoning their biggest supporter midstream to pick the winner. At the same time, Wells has zero chance of being elected. DC has morphed over the years, but there is still an enormous voting bloc that would never consider voting for any white guy, let alone one with such a thin record of accomplishment. Maybe he would stand a chance in 8-12 years if DCs gentrification keeps up like it is, but no chance now.

by Finster on Mar 12, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

I have a hard time taking this seriously because you endorsed Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty the last time around.

What DA said, plus, no one knew about the shadow campaign or the S. Brown quid pro quo. I would love to only consider the endorsements of people who are never wrong, but God doesn't take a position in the Democratic primary (I think he's a Libertarian).

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 1:54 pm • linkreport

If I got a penny for every time someone told me they're voting for Gray because they don't think Tommy could win, I could fund a shadow campaign!

by arm on Mar 12, 2014 1:59 pm • linkreport

After UncleEarlgate broke, I immediately donated to Wells' campaign. As I told Wells at an event, I'd like a mayor who doesn't have to leave before term end to go to jail. He's also pro cycling, which is important to me as a cyclist.

by likedrypavement on Mar 12, 2014 2:02 pm • linkreport

"no one knew about the shadow campaign or the S. Brown quid pro quo"

No, we didn't know then about it. But anyone who had lived in DC longer than 5 minutes knew Grays past performance at HHS, knew he publically proclaimed Marion Barry to be his mentor, and knew the people he surrounded himself with, his friends, his personally selected campaign staff were all of the "old guard" , all of which had run ins with the law and spent their professional and personal lives catering to the lowest common denominator.

A Gray administration was as easy to predict as is the sun coming up tomorrow. The writing was clearly on the wall.

by Felon Gray on Mar 12, 2014 2:03 pm • linkreport

Is there any indication (beyond wishful thinking) that Wells has any chance whatsoever to win the primary? I haven't seen any.

The last poll, taken before the Thompson indictment, had Wells in 3rd. If Gray falls, Wells should pick up some of that vote. And he should benefit from any amount that the election focuses on ethics. If he can get into the top 2, then he becomes the alternative to Bowser (or Gray, I suppose).

Monday's events, by so tarnishing the front runner that he's lost at least one major endorsement, are very likely to scramble the election. I think any polling done before this now needs at least an asterisk. Do you really think the next poll will show things to be unchanged? So, Wells was doing very well before the latest revelation. That revelation will hurt the front runner the most. It will hurt Tommy Wells the least. I'd say that Wells has at least a 1 in 3 chance of winning this now. But mostly there is a lot of uncertainty which means that all bets are off and everyone kind of has a chance - including Wells.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 2:04 pm • linkreport

@David C: That's wishful thinking, to the point of being completely delusional. I'm sure the next poll will look different. But Gray voters are much more likely to switch to Bowser than to Wells. So if anything, the Thompson indictment hurts Wells relative to Bowser.

by Rob on Mar 12, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

A Gray administration was as easy to predict as is the sun coming up tomorrow. The writing was clearly on the wall.

OK, well certainly - if it was so easy - you can find evidence of someone, ANYONE, calling out the alarm that Gray was dirty. Surely someone predicted that he would be the subject of an investigation, that he was likely to operate under a cloud of scandal or even be indicted.

Someone, right? Just show me who that person was.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

Bowser took money from Thompson too! Surely that will hurt her chance with undecideds. Tommy is the only serious candidate not to take money from Uncle Earl.

by arm on Mar 12, 2014 2:09 pm • linkreport

But Gray voters are much more likely to switch to Bowser than to Wells. So if anything, the Thompson indictment hurts Wells relative to Bowser.

We'll see. But if Wells moves into 2nd, then he becomes the alternative and he can (as voters think strategically) pick up votes from Evans, Shallal, and the leader in all the polls - Undecided.

What odds are you willing to give me on Wells? How sure are you? 100 to 1?

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 2:10 pm • linkreport

David C wrote: "We'll see. But if Wells moves into 2nd, then he becomes the alternative and he can (as voters think strategically) pick up votes from Evans, Shallal, and the leader in all the polls - Undecided."

I would be surprised to see Wells move into 2nd. You greatly underestimate how many voters will stick with Gray despite the Thompson indictment.

by Rob on Mar 12, 2014 2:17 pm • linkreport

Bowser took money from Thompson too!

And been subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney and refused to return the money she got from Thompson.

http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/local/2014/03/11/bowser-wont-return-thompson-money/6304459/

I mean, when you look at this list

http://dcist.com/2014/03/us_attorney_on_jeffrey_thompson_thi.php

It's possible that Linda Cropp, Vincent Orange, Kelvin Robinson and several others could be swept up in this. The bigger it gets, the better it makes Wells look.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

Rob, Again, What odds are you willing to give me on Wells? How sure are you? 100 to 1?

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 2:20 pm • linkreport

I am not a partisan of any candidate, but shouldn't your endorsement be for the Democratic nomination only? Treating the primary as the General Election is a symptom of alot of what's wrong in this city. That is not said as a fan of Catania's (I'm not) but in support of Good Government.

by MikenotIke on Mar 12, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport

Yes, this is the endorsement for the primary.

by David Alpert on Mar 12, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

@DavidC

"Surely someone predicted that he would be the subject of an investigation, that he was likely to operate under a cloud of scandal or even be indicted. Someone, right? Just show me who that person was".

You are kidding right? I would suggest a perusal of the comment section from the above linked endorsement:
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/7103/have-faith-in-our-ideas-and-vote-gray/

And the comment sections from the multipart pre-Endorsement pieces David did.

There were plenty of people telling you exactly the kind of person Gray was. You simply chose not to listen.

And even if you lived in a vacumn and didn't know, you could see that the people Vince had surrounded himself with were seriously bad news, and had been bad news in DC for decades. If you didn't know Gray, then all you had to do was look at Jenne Harris, Brooks, Hawkins and Gore, the people who Gray hand selected to run his campaign. Harris had multiple run ins with the law in the 80's and 90's, She pleaded guilty in 1988 to concealing a scheme to pay a former council member (Crawford) $20,000 through a city contract. She was a varsity member of DC's "pay for play" squad.

Finally, the disgusting, racist, base pandering he did to drum up votes by pitting the city as "us black people" against "them white people" that he performed at every stump speech EOTR was again daily proof of a man who pandered to the lowest common denominator.

by Felon Gray on Mar 12, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

David C wrote: "Rob, Again, What odds are you willing to give me on Wells? How sure are you? 100 to 1?"

I don't know the exact odds. But I know that Wells is a real long shot. So a smart urbanist voter would be far better off to vote for Gray in the primary and then Catania in the general election rather than voting for Wells in the primary.

by Rob on Mar 12, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

Some folks may not like to admit it, but to a huge number of eotr voters, Gray's stock just went up, not down.

The unfortunate reality is this isn't going to hurt Gray much with a large percentage of the voters in town. They simply don't care, or think its great that Gray's "sticking it to the man" and getting his "hustle" on.

So you ask the chances of Wells as mayor. 0%

by eotr on Mar 12, 2014 2:41 pm • linkreport

"Some folks may not like to admit it, but to a huge number of eotr voters, Gray's stock just went up, not down. "

If that's true, then I feel sorry for those folks. Racism has two sides to the coin. The obvious one where people ostracize you and the other more insidious one, where the person being belittled subconciously accepts the lower standards being foisted on them. I know there's a lot of suspicion out there, and much of it justified, but folks should watch out for self-fulfilling prophecies.

by Thayer-D on Mar 12, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

Because suspicion of criminal activity and who someone endorsed are the same thing? Hey-o false equivalence.

A sense of humor is a terrible thing to waste.

by dcd on Mar 12, 2014 3:17 pm • linkreport

Wow--what a surprise. So really what you are doing is endorsing Vincent Gray. Tommy Wells does not have a chance in hell of even coming in 3rd place let alone Mayor. Luckily only woonkies with know real life (I count myself) know about GGW - so it wont have an impact.

by RealDC4 on Mar 12, 2014 3:26 pm • linkreport

I was at the WIN candidate's forum earlier this month. Gray and Evans didn't show up. Bowser, accurately described above, said a lot that sounded great and in sympathy with the audience, but it amounted to nothing. Wells addressed each of the points WIN asked the candidates about in detail, said where things stand and what he was going to do. He was the only candidate who addressed the issues raised head on and with substance. I really was impressed.

by Steve on Mar 12, 2014 3:30 pm • linkreport

For the record--Bowser and Evans did not take ILLEGAL contributions from Thompson. DC law does not permit them to return money from campaigns that are closed - nor can they use their current campaign money. Trust me the only reason why Tommy didnt get any money--is that he is such a non-entity on the council

by RealDC4 on Mar 12, 2014 3:33 pm • linkreport

GGW, what do you think of Reta Lewis?

by jean on Mar 12, 2014 3:37 pm • linkreport

For the record--Bowser and Evans did not take ILLEGAL contributions from Thompson.

It will be interesting to see what the investigation finds on that.

DC law does not permit them to return money from campaigns that are closed - nor can they use their current campaign money.

First I've heard of that.

Trust me the only reason why Tommy didnt get any money--is that he is such a non-entity on the council.

Rather than trust you, can you give me some evidence. Did he ask Thompson for money? Has he taken money from other shady characters? Your argument has a hole: if Thompson didn't need the Ward 6 CM, then why did he fund Wells' opponent 4 years ago? Wells didn't get any money from Thompson, because he's not for sale.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 3:47 pm • linkreport

Kudos to GGW for making the right call on this endorsement. Wells will be a great mayor, and I heartily endorse him as well. I had the opportunity to work with Wells and his staff on DC Council, and was always impressed by their sincerity and willingness to take angles that aren't politically popular, but are the right choice. I'll also add that Wells was one of only two Councilmembers who traveled to work via transit or bike most days. Call me crazy, but I inherently trust someone to make decisions over the District when they use the transportation systems that over half of us now use (walking, biking, transit). Muriel made token use of the 50s buses, which go from her house to the Wilson building more or less directly, and she made sure to talk about the four or five days she did so, but I don't consider that the same as doing it every day.

I'll also add that Tommy stood up to Kwame Brown on the Navigator scandal, and for his principled position was demoted from his chairmanship of the transportation committee, with the full participation of the rest of Council. Of course, we later learned the extent of Kwame's crimes against the public, and Tommy was on the right side of that issue despite the political consequences he suffered.

Vote Tommy!

by Will Handsfield on Mar 12, 2014 4:03 pm • linkreport

It is not who you vote for in this city, it is more about who you tell people not to vote for; as it relates to the AA community. Case in point, when people were saying how dare you vote for Marion Barry, what happened? So, to go around and say not to vote for Vincent Gray will just have many in the black communities to do just the opposite. As for the black community being ready for white mayor is not the question, is the white mayor ready to run the helm of the city that has a large percentage of blacks. Don't get it twisted this is not Philly or Chicago, so to use them as a barometer is an epic failure. Let's be real and honest the Mayor campaign is a visual and name recognition with a gimmicky popularity contest. Also, it is guilt by association as in the black community "if you hang around the wrong group of people, you will get dissed." You think that ain't true ask Fenty and his albatross was Michelle Rhee; when the black community felt that Rhee was not rheespectful; it was all down-hill. I say that to say this, Wells doesn't hang with the wrong people, it just that the right people dont' hang with him. His image has a dastardly smile that's so disingenious.

Tommy Wells is an endorsement but not a good choice for Mayor and you can ask the former members of the Eastern Senior High School PTSA, who was an intricate part of him being introduced to the community as a school board member. It just seems he has forgot that faction of people who stomped the ground for him back in the day but that's all good. Our memory will comeback stronger during the election, you can bet'cha a Rambler on that one.

by Ward 6 Guy on Mar 12, 2014 4:52 pm • linkreport

Perhaps Wells is the best the issues, especially campaign finance. But I'm not convinced he has what it takes to be an effective mayor.

Wells strikes me as someone who works best as a semi-outsider and critic, along the lines of Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio is off to an odd start. He allowed his speakers to bash Bloomberg at the inauguration, which really surprised people. He followed that up by not plowing the Upper East Side, (although I think people were giving him the benefit of the doubt on that one). But more seriously, de Blasio is taking some actions on charter schools that has seriously antagonized charter school proponents.

Without weighing into the charter school issue, de Blasio is quickly building some headwinds. The issue isn't whether de Blasio is right or wrong on charter schools; the issue is whether he can convince those most affected, those sending their children to the affected schools, that he has a better plan. Right now, he seems to be taking a confrontational approach that has everyone digging their heels in.

I'm not sure that Wells has the experience or temperament to build alliances and support on critical issues. Supporting bike lanes, egovernment, and even campaign finance reform is the easy stuff compared to being the kind of mayor who can actually get get stuff done. Will Wells be a confrontational mayor? Will he try to govern as a critic?

I didn't pen this because I'm supporting someone else. I honestly haven't decided. But if I cast a vote for Wells, I'll be wondering just how he'll turn out.

by kob on Mar 12, 2014 5:32 pm • linkreport

"is DC ready for a white mayor" -- yes, and his name is David Catania, by far the most capable and qualified candidate running.

by anon_1 on Mar 12, 2014 5:32 pm • linkreport

Why is no one listing Wells' failures?

The streetcar was a logistical joke and Wells has done seemingly nothing to help push it through to completion.

There are still no bike lanes on G or I St NE, even though both streets could comfortably support bike infrastructure alongside cars.

The middle schools in Ward 6 are so much of a nightmare, any parent who has their child in a Ward 6 elementary school sweats bullets at the thought of sending their kids there. Eastern is an academic nightmare.

It took years to get the Reservation 13 development going, ditto for Hine (Wells did nothing to stop the anti-height NIMBY segment there, yet he's willing to support - or at least not fight to repeal - the Height Act citywide?).

Wells is the most mixed of all bags. The best things that happened in Ward 6 - elementary school improvement, Navy Yard development and H Street re-development - seemed to happen without Wells, for the most part (even though he's quick to take credit for all the hard work that the parents involved in the Capitol Hill Cluster and visionaries like Joe Englert and the Robeys have done).

by Alan on Mar 12, 2014 5:45 pm • linkreport

My heart says Wells but my brain says Catania. Probably will get to vote for each once.

Also if Gray stays in, there's a decent chance of a Mayor Mendo with another election for mayor in 2 more years.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 12, 2014 8:36 pm • linkreport

I'm not a bit surprised GGW endorsed Wells. He most aligns with their views. But that's also what makes him unappealing to voters.

Wells has no chance of being elected and it's not because he's white. Wells is polling horribly across the city. He's a distant 4th as voters first choice. And ties with Gray for 3rd as voters second choice. Absentee voting has begun and early voting starts on Monday. There's absolutely no way Wells can gain the necessary momentum in such a short window. Even if he did have more then 68k on hand.

This Gray mess only really benefits Bowser like it or not. Bowser is the only candidate that has really shown the potential to grow and appeal to a broad constituency. Say what you want about her approach people are buying it. You don't jump 8 points in polls for no reason. She also has a ton of visible support across the city. Everywhere I go I see her signs in peoples yards. People aren't afraid to show their support for her from ward 8 to ward 3.

Tommy also comes off as a hypocrite as well. He runs around town saying everyone but himself is corrupt for taking corporate contributions yet he has done so before. In every campaign except this one Tommy has taken money from LLC's, Coporations and contractors with business before the district. Now that it's a campaign issue he conveniently ditches this practice and bashes his opponents. I also don't find his I'm the only candidate not taking Uncle Earl's money line impressive either. It's not like he was given the opportunity to accept it and then turned it down. Given his openness to accept llc and corporate donations at the time Uncle Earl was dishing out the cash it's reasonable to assume he would have taken it to. It's also disingenuous to say all of his competitors have been implicated in the feds case when only Orange and Gray have.

by not surprised on Mar 12, 2014 9:08 pm • linkreport

Wells has no chance of being elected

Seriously, I'm willing to lay a lot of $10 bets if people who say he has no chance will give 1000 to 1 odds.

He's polling 3rd (statistically tied with Evans). 1st place belongs to Gray and we may see him start to drop in the polls. That would place him in a tie for 2nd. Wells signature issues is starting to move to the forefront. The whole race is being resorted. The fact is that no one really knows how all these things are going to shake out.

He runs around town saying everyone but himself is corrupt for taking corporate contributions yet he has done so before.

No he doesn't say everyone is corrupt. He says he's not taking corporate contributions and that's true. But show me where he's called Bowser corrupt.

I also don't find his I'm the only candidate not taking Uncle Earl's money line impressive either. It's not like he was given the opportunity to accept it and then turned it down.

Thompson wasn't interested in Wells because Wells wouldn't give him anything in return. That's why he funded his opponent in 2010.

Given his openness to accept llc and corporate donations at the time Uncle Earl was dishing out the cash it's reasonable to assume he would have taken it to.

There is nothing reasonable about that assumption at all. Did he ever ask Thompson for money? Others did. Has he taken money from other shady characters? The fact that he accepted campaign money is not enough evidence to support the claim that he would have taken it from anyone. And not enough to support that he would've taken it from Uncle Earl. The only reason the Bowser sock puppets keep saying this - and that Wells can't win - is because they're terrified that he will.

It's also disingenuous to say all of his competitors have been implicated in the feds case when only Orange and Gray have.

It would be. Who said that?

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 9:36 pm • linkreport

@The Silent Factor:

Of course DC is (or should be) ready for a white mayor. The US was ready for a black president. Those in DC who still pine for their Chocolate City should, to use Marion Barry's famous phrase, "just get over it."

by Jasper2 on Mar 12, 2014 9:43 pm • linkreport

David, before you start placing bets you should first read up on odds, past elections and talk to some voters outside of GGW's comment section and twitter. Wells and Evans are both significantly behind the top two in polling. So yes even if "statistically" tied for 3rd he still has a lot of ground to cover. And please explain how Gray falling in polls helps Wells. Gray's support is cut and dry, EOTR. Wells polls the worst EOTR and in other black strongholds. Those voters are more inclined to jump ship and go with Bowser. As I noted earlier he's not even peoples second choice which is telling. How does he win? Whats the plan? How is that plan funded? Tommy has been screaming corruption since he jumped in the race and people still aren't flocking to him.

This race is about more than who did or didn't take Thompson money. In fact many people will turn a blind eye to it. People are going to align with someone who aligns with most of their views and approaches government in a pragmatic way. For many Tommy is to much of a risk. Tommy scares voters just as much as Catania.

Tommy's other big problem is Mr. Shallal. Andy has been able to cut deep into Tommy's base and will only hurt him more in the final weeks.

Like another commenter pointed out, how would he work with other councilmembers? What coalitions would he form? Tommy is a critic not a solution provider. He's in this race to criticize.

by not surprised on Mar 12, 2014 9:51 pm • linkreport

Baltimore's more black and Martin O'Malley got elected mayor twice. Detroit's a lot more black and just elected a white mayor overwhelmingly.

Gray wasn't the victim of entrapment over sex and drugs by the GOP like Barry and won't get the sympathy. He skimmed medicaid money from poor people through Thompson for payments to friends and relatives.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 12, 2014 9:55 pm • linkreport

Wells and Evans are both significantly behind the top two in polling.

Polling done before Monday's revelations.

And please explain how Gray falling in polls helps Wells.

Gray was in first place in the last poll. So, having him not be in first place is something Wells wants.

Tommy has been screaming corruption since he jumped in the race and people still aren't flocking to him.

They haven't been yet because it wasn't that big an issue. I think it just got bigger.

How does he win? Whats the plan?

Gray falls off the radar. Wells becomes the alternative to Bowser. People realize that Bowser is an empty suit and Wells picks up votes from Evans, Shallal and undecided voters. He then gets more votes than all other candidates.

How is that plan funded?

Without corporate money and without money from Jeffrey Thompson. How is Bowser's campaign funded?

Andy has been able to cut deep into Tommy's base and will only hurt him more in the final weeks.

Or Shallal voters will vote strategically and come back to Wells. Or Shallal drops out and endorses Wells. Combine those two voting groups and Wells is statistically tied with Bowser in the last poll.

how would he work with other councilmembers? What coalitions would he form?

You know, the same way he did to get the marijuana bill passed (with MB), except with more power. He, Cheh, Grosso, Allen - that's a pretty good little coalition.

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 10:14 pm • linkreport

You don't jump 8 points in polls for no reason.

One last thing on this. You're right, you don't jump 8 points in polls for no reason. I suspect this jump was entirely due to the Post's recommendation. And that it's largely transient.

We'll see what the first post Thompson plea poll looks like.

And I'm still willing to bet $10 versus $10,000 (if you think Wells has no chance, it should be easy money).

by David C on Mar 12, 2014 11:42 pm • linkreport

Oh, David. The poll had already started when the Post endorsed. The pollster said they where unable to tell the effect of the Post endorsement because of that.

No need to take your cash. You believe in Wells. That's perfectly fine. Admirable even. In Tommy land supporters say stuff like, "Every candidate's electable if ppl vote 4 him/her"( I'm sure that inspired Carlos Allen). So your train of thought isn't surprising at all. I guess you guys think the GGW endorsement will put him over the top too...

I'll gladly welcome you back to the reality most voters are living in on April 1.

by not surprised on Mar 13, 2014 12:47 am • linkreport

So I'm undecided and have been doing quite a bit of research on each of the candidates. I'll start by saying I was leaning heavily towards Andy Shallal, not so much anymore. But Mr. Wells never really made it to the top of my list. I was a bit turned off by his approach to the shootings in Tyler house and his I'll live on min wage for a week stunt. I thought both where tasteless. Then my friend directed me here. She insisted he's the best choice.

I'm even more not convinced after reading the post and the comments to follow.

A big issue for me is the height act. Wells position on this shocked me and I'm even more shocked that GGW credited him for being for good planning practices in their endorsement.

Then on schools Capitol Hill has great elementary schools and it stops there. Tommy brags about waiting list and insist gains aren't due to gentrification. That shows GGW nor him really understand the issues that are play in our city. Ward 6 elementary schools have seen a huge increase of affluent, involved parents. The middle schools and high school haven't seen that infusion thus they're in the same state as schools in other wards.

And yes ethics and integrity are big for me. Another reason I can't vote for Tommy. While Mr. Wells didn't take money from Jeff Thompson he did vote in favor of his contract. When asked about his vote he told the Post he was "Duped". You have to ask yourself, how could the guy who claimed he took no Thompson donations years earlier because he was a bad guy be "duped" into voting for a shady contract because he didn't know his misdeads later. Well Tommy I was duped too. For a while I was under the impression that you have always been a staunch supporter for getting money out of politics like Shallal. Only to find out you've taken thousands of dollars from corporations and LLC's in past campaigns. If it was all about who didn't take what, I'm better of going with a true outsider like Rita or Shallal who are just as viable as Tommy.

I'm also rather annoyed by the tasteless bashing and aggressiveness of staunch Wells supporters in person and on social media. Hell the official campaign account even retweets some of the tasteless stuff. A true leader would run an above board campaign in all aspects.

I'm still undicided for now but will definitely be giving Bowser, Evans and Shallal another look.

by Wth on Mar 13, 2014 1:47 am • linkreport

I wish that both Evans and Wells would drop out and endorse Muriel Boswer. Bowser represents Ward 4, which is a microcosm of DC. It includes parts of Chevy Chase, upper 16th Street, Shepherd Park, Manor Park, North Portal Estates, Crestwood, Takoma Park, Brightwood, Petworth, and Ft. Totten. In her Ward you have every demographic within DC. You have the rich, middle-class, and poor in one.

Bowser is the one candidate who can appeal to the affluent voters in Wards 1-3 and 6, while also not alienating the poor in Wards 7 and 8. She can appeal to the entire city, while Wells and Evans will basically split the votes between Ward 1-3 and 6.

DC elections hinge on Wards 4 and 5. The precincts in both of those wards swing elections. The voters in those wards are the crucial demographics who determine who wins citywide races.

Bowswer is the candidate who could actually defeat Gray. Evans and Wells will just not sell outside of Wards 1-3 and 6. And they both will split votes between them, thus allowing Gray another term.

In DC elections the phrase should be "It's Ward 4 and 5, stupid!" I do hope, though, that Bowser runs again in 2018. I think that she would be a great mayor.

by Rain17 on Mar 13, 2014 2:04 am • linkreport

My vote is for whomever can beat Gray. The single most important issue for DC is to stop electing corrupt politicians. Even if Gray were to prove innocent (and it's abundantly clear from any cursory reading of Thompson's plea that's impossible) he's too tainted. He stinks of Marion Barry and every old-style graft-riddled pol that has made DC a laughingstock to the rest of the country for decades.

If Wells can beat Gray, I'll vote for him. If Bowser can beat Gray, I'll vote for her. Hell, if Evans could beat Gray I'd even vote for him. And if none of them can do it then God bless David Catania.

Bottom line is that I want DC to be a world class city which is impossible if Gray remains the Mayor.

by bcc on Mar 13, 2014 7:19 am • linkreport

What specific education proposals piqued your interests? Your endorsement delved into specifics only as it applied to transit. That is perfectly OK- merely state that your endorsement is driven largely (or solely) by his transportation vision.

by Andy on Mar 13, 2014 8:34 am • linkreport

The poll had already started when the Post endorsed. The pollster said they where unable to tell the effect of the Post endorsement because of that.

Well that sounds scientific to me. "Here's some data. Something happened in the middle of gathering it that may have changed the results, but we aren't sure."

If the endorsement has any value - and Bowser sure thinks it does - than it would have its maximum effect immediately after it came out, i.e. the 2nd half of the poll period.

BTW, I'm not saying that Wells will win. He's still a bit of a longshot. But he is not out of it yet. He has some chance even if it is only 1 in 5 or 1 in 20. But far better than 1 in 1000. Which is why I would take that bet and you won't. Even you don't really believe that he can't win. If you did, you wouldn't feel the need to undermine him and you'd take my money.

by David C on Mar 13, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

You have to ask yourself, how could the guy who claimed he took no Thompson donations years earlier because he was a bad guy be "duped" into voting for a shady contract because he didn't know his misdeads later

Well, he never claimed that's why he didn't take money from Thompson. In fact, LL reports that "Wells says he wasn't familiar with Thompson when the payments, meant to end a dispute over dental reimbursements to Thompson's Medicaid company, went in front of the Council for a final vote on June 14, 2011."

But, let's assume the worst. If Wells knew about the shady aspects of this deal, why would he vote for it? It certainly wasn't for campaign money. There is no quid for this quo. There is no ethical failure in simply being wrong.

If it was all about who didn't take what, I'm better of going with a true outsider like Rita or Shallal who are just as viable as Tommy.

Tommy is a longshot. Rita and Shallal are wasted votes. I really will give you 1000 to 1 odds on either or both of them.

by David C on Mar 13, 2014 10:57 am • linkreport

On paper Wells sounds great, but he wouldn't be able to run the city. Like Fenty, he does not work well with others.

by Jorge on Mar 13, 2014 11:01 am • linkreport

Bowser represents Ward 4, which is a microcosm of DC.

You're right. We should just let Ward 4 voters choose our mayor.

In her Ward you have every demographic within DC. You have the rich, middle-class, and poor in one.

This describes just about every ward in DC.

Bowser is the one candidate who can appeal to the affluent voters in Wards 1-3 and 6, while also not alienating the poor in Wards 7 and 8. She can appeal to the entire city,

Which is why only 1 in 5 voters support her. That's the whole city, right? That's like winning less than 1 and half wards.

Bowswer is the candidate who could actually defeat Gray.

If that is the only criteria that matters to you, then it sounds like - for now - Bowser is your lady. But a lot of us care about more than just defeating someone who may be in prison by the time of the next inauguration. If all you want is for Gray to stop being Mayor, then you can stay home and watch cartoons on April 1, because Ron Machen is going to take care of that for you.

by David C on Mar 13, 2014 11:05 am • linkreport

Outsider's view

I think Wells prospects for winning are probably a bit less than in 1 in 20. A lot of things have to go right for him. The Gray vote has to be hit hard by the scandal (its not clear Gray will lose that many votes) and it has to overwhelming to Wells - which since almost all current Gray voters (per the WaPo poll) are african american, and Wells has had issues appealing to African Americans, seems questionable. It also is not convincing that just because voters leave Gray over ethics, they will go to the most ethics focused candidate. They may instead look for the candidate who seems most like Gray, but is not implicated directly in the scandal. If they are focused on race, they will vote Bowser (or even Orange) If they like the status quo, and are okay voting for a white CM, they might well vote for Evans. If they really are moving to someone as distant from the status quo as possible, they might vote for Shallal or Lewis (not enough to give them a chance to win - but still, draining votes from Wells).

Of course if you are indifferent among the other candidates - esp if you are indifferent between Gray and Bowser - then strategic voting has no value, and you might as well vote for whom you like, even if their odds are more like 1 in 30, or 1 in 50.

If Wells wins, and he implements even the level of urbanist policies of the current admin (or better, goes further or more competenly) and that does not create a racial backlash (of the type we say in C Milloys columns a few years back) I will be surprised and delighted, and very optimistic about DC's political future.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 13, 2014 11:18 am • linkreport

What a surprise! Who on earth saw that coming?

I still can't see any reason to vote for him.

by Burd on Mar 13, 2014 11:33 am • linkreport

David C--I don't get why you are being so condescending to me in your reply. I don't want Gray re-elected and I do think Bowser has the best chance of beating him. Bowswer can fare better east of the Anacostia River than either Wells or Evans. Evans, Wells, and Bowser will split the anti-Gray vote. I think it would be better if both Evans and Wells dropped out and endorsed Bowser.

by Rain17 on Mar 13, 2014 7:34 pm • linkreport

Rain17,

Well I also do not want Gray re-elected. I think Wells would make the best mayor. Evans, Wells, and Bowser will split the anti-Gray vote. I think it would be better if both Evans and Bowser dropped out and endorsed Wells.

I don't think I'm being condescending, but I'm being a bit dismissive because your whole position is about how only Bowser can beat Gray, but she needs Evans and Wells to drop out and endorse her to do it. As I point out, the same could be true for Wells or Evans.

And I don't want Wells to be Mayor just to stop Gray. I want Wells to be Mayor because I want WELLS to be mayor. If you just want to stop Gray, encourage Bowser to drop out and endorse Wells. She will keep her Council seat and so dropping out wouldn't cost her much, but Wells had to give up his council seat to run (the only one who is doing that, btw). He's not going to drop out. He's bet it all on this.

by David C on Mar 13, 2014 8:18 pm • linkreport

David C--Wells has no chance of winning this race. Bluntly not enough Black people are going to vote for him. The idea that a White candidate, especially the one who represents the rapidly gentrifying precincts of downtown, NoMa, Capitol Hill, the Navy Yard, and the Waterfront, is going to be able to get significant Black support in the precincts east of the river is unrealistic. Wells just isn't going to do well enough in the precincts east of the river to win.

The same also applies to Jack Evans. Like Wards 7 and 8 will be receptive to the man who represents Burleith, Georgetown, and other affluent downtown neighborhoods?

That leaves Wards 1-3.I could see both Evans and Wells splitting the votes within Ward 1. I could see Gray perhaps doing well in the dwindling Latino precincts there and the neighborhoods near Howard University. I think that Bowser will also hold her own there.

Evans will carry the neighborhoods of Ward 2, which include the West End, Georgetown, Burleith, DuPont, Kalorama, Foggy Bottom, the Shaw, and downtown DC. And those are voters Wells needs to beat Gray.

And then that leaves Ward 3 the other bastion of anti-Gray votes. Wells and Evans will likely split those votes. Bowser is probably non-threatening enough to the white voters there that some will support her.

Evans and Wells may get some votes in Ward 4, but Bowser will dominate there. I don't see either Wells or Evans getting any significant votes in Ward 5. Gray and Bowser will probably dominate Ward 5.

Wells will carry Ward 6 without any problem. I could see Evsans finishing second there, followed by Bowswer, and Gray. But that ward is hardly enough to carry the entire city, although it admittedly includes its fastest-growing neighborhoods.

And when you get to Wards 7 and 8 I just don't see Evans and Wells doing well enough to hold their own against Gray. Gray will romp through those precincts, although I could see Bower perhaps limiting her losses there. She did win the Ward 8 straw poll a couple months ago.

I like Wells, but I just don't see him winning. And it's a shame that "he's bet all on this" because, when the final results come in, he's likely to finish no better than third. And for him to finish second everything--and I do mean everything--would have to go his way.

So, on Monday, when early voting starts, I'll be casting my vote for Muriel Bowser. I think that, even if she doesn't win, she'll come in second. Then Evans and Wells will fight for second place, followed by Vincent Orange.

Bowser gets my support because she represents my area on the city council. She is also likely to be able to get votes in Wards 7 and 8, where, for the reasons I described above, Evans and Wells are just not going to do well there. Bowser is also sufficiently reasonable that she can get votes in the affluent precincts in Wards 1-3.

Looking at this race the bottom line for me is that:

1. Evans and Wells are fighting over the same pool of voters: white and rich voters in Wards 1-3 and 6. They're probably also trying to get the affluent black voters in Ward 4, but Bowser probably has them.

2. Bowser can get the votes of the affluent in Wards 1-3 and 6. She will dominate Ward 4 and get the votes of upper middle-class and affluent blacks who are in Ward 4 and 5. (And those areas likely contain the "swing voters" in DC elections). She can also hold her own east of the river.

3. But given that you have Evans and Wells fighting for the same pool of voters, they are likely to split those crucial anti-Gray votes. Bowser is likely to get the rest.

4. What may keep Gray in the Mayor's office is likely the fact that Evans and Wells are still in the race. Now maybe if only one of the two was running the dynamics might be different.

So how does Wells win this race? I just don't see him selling beyond the affluent gentrifying precincts of this city.

by Rain17 on Mar 13, 2014 11:31 pm • linkreport

AWalkerintheCity--The key swing voters in this election are probably the affluent, upper middle-class, and working class Black voters in Wards 4 and 5. However Wards 4 and 5 swing so too will the election. How they vote will determine who wins the Mayor's race.

by Rain17 on Mar 13, 2014 11:39 pm • linkreport

Rain17,

That was a very long discussion of the horse race without any indication why you will support Bowser other than that she represents Ward 4. That's not much of a reason.

The goal is not to get rid of Gray. That's going to happen anyway. The goal is to elect a candidate. Mine is Wells. I don't want Bowser to be Mayor any more than I want Gray. So why would I vote for her? Why would Wells drop out and endorse her?

Wells has a tough row to hoe, but the winner of this might need only 25% of the vote, which means you can easily win without capturing one vote EOTR. Or in ward 4. Or in ward 5.

How does Wells win, you ask. How does Bowser win? Wells needs his voters to turn out. He needs Bowser and Gray (and Orange) to split their vote. He needs Evans voters and Shallal voters to realize they're lost causes and abandon them (or he needs one of them to drop out).

It's low probability stuff, but without a complete erosion of Gray, so is Bowser's path.

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 12:30 am • linkreport

Weird, this place was gaga for Gray a few weeks ago. Why abandon him now? A little corruption is rarely a handicap for front-runner DC mayoral candidates.

by Steve D. on Mar 14, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

My concern with each of the candidates is that they are primarily (or in many cases, only) focused on "affordable housing". They are not talking about "workforce housing". Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs) [typically focused on AMI below 60%] benefit low income residents. Requiring developers to include ADUs in their developments increases the number of affordable homes in DC (a good thing), but it also increases the price of the remaining, market rate units, squeezing the middle class out of DC. Someone needs to be talking about building workforce housing [AMI around 100-120%] in DC so the middle class have a place to live.

by Chris on Mar 14, 2014 10:44 am • linkreport

This is a good read on why Wells is full of it http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/looselips/2014/02/26/tommy-wells-talks-tough-in-new-ad-not-always-accurately/.

DC's BIGGEST opportunist.

by not surprised on Mar 14, 2014 12:01 pm • linkreport

@ not surprised

Good point, and thanks for the link!

by Burd on Mar 14, 2014 12:16 pm • linkreport

At the end of the article, Wells finally gets a chance to speak and he agrees that the ad was inaccurate and that his staff got the facts wrong. Does that sound like someone who is full of it?

Better an opportunist than a criminal or an empty suit.

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 12:20 pm • linkreport

David, yes it does. This goes beyond the add. At every forum Wells likes to remind people that he's the only one that hasn't taken cash from Uncle Earl. Wells is the one pushing the adds message and it's extremely disingenuous. Voters aren't stupid.

Tommy knowingly voted for this crooks settlement that Gray ushered in.

by not surprised on Mar 14, 2014 12:23 pm • linkreport

Wells likes to remind people that he's the only one that hasn't taken cash from Uncle Earl.

Which is true. I like my lies to be less truthful. In fact, in 2007 Bowser received more than 50 donations of $500 (the maximum allowed) on a single day from individuals and corporations with ties to Jeff Thompson, including Jeanne Clarke Harris, who pleaded guilty to being part of straw-donor schemes. That's not true of Wells.

Tommy knowingly voted for this crooks settlement that Gray ushered in.

So did Bowser. But Tommy didn't get paid to do it (and he didn't know Thompson was a crook at the time).

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 12:33 pm • linkreport

Another thing people should do is check out Tommy's past finance reports. This dude has taken more then his share of corporate and LLC contributions. They where people until Tommy said they weren't anymore.

by not surprised on Mar 14, 2014 12:33 pm • linkreport

I agree with Wells most on the issues. I don't want Bowser to win.

And at that point, who cares about anything else? They're all flawed, each and every candidate. To different extents, but this sorry crop of flailing midgets is apparently all we've got to work with. So with that in mind, everyone's financial scandal cancels the other out. And I'm still going with Wells.

by LowHeadways on Mar 14, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

I am confused. If Wells didn't know Thompson was a crook, then why did he refuse to take his money? If he voted in favor of putting more money in Thompson's pocket anyway then what difference did it make if he took his money before doing it? He had no problem taking corporate money from other places, which I highly doubt came with no strings attached. That is usually the point of corporations donating money to a candidate.

by J.R. on Mar 14, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

This dude has taken more then his share of corporate and LLC contributions. They where people until Tommy said they weren't anymore.

I've heard this narrative bounced around a lot too. Wells is a hypocrite because he used to do something that he now no longer does and criticizes people for doing. But that's not what a hypocrite does. A hypocrite criticizes something WHILE they are doing it.

He took their money before the dirty business of Gray's 2010 campaign came to light. Those revelations (Suleimon Brown, the Shadow Campaign, straw donors) made Wells realize that we needed to ban corporate donations. He proposed a law to do just that, but the council (spearheaded by Bowser) chose to do something with much less teeth.

Having said that DC should ban corporate donations, Wells decided to run without accepting such donations because he had realized they were wrong. The hypocritical option would be to take the donations after claiming they need to be banned.

All of these people screaming hypocrisy need to break out their dictionaries and learn what the word means.

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 1:05 pm • linkreport

If Wells didn't know Thompson was a crook, then why did he refuse to take his money?

He never refused Thompson's money. As near as I can tell it was never offered.

If he voted in favor of putting more money in Thompson's pocket anyway then what difference did it make if he took his money before doing it?

Because that makes him wrong (or too trusting of Gray) instead of crooked. I'm Ok with my elected officials being wrong from time to time, but not with them using the city treasury to reward their campaign supporters.

He had no problem taking corporate money from other places, which I highly doubt came with no strings attached.

Because you think all corporate money has strings attached? Well then, I guess you should look for a candidate who's not taking any corporate money. Who would that be?

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 1:13 pm • linkreport

"He never refused Thompson's money. As near as I can tell it was never offered"
So...the part about his campaign ad that is incorrect is the part about him refusing it? He never cleared that up in the City Paper article that 'not surprised' posted. This was where my confusion came in. If that is the case however, then touting the fact that he never accepted money that was never offered to him in the first place is a bit disingenuous. Similar to Obama touting that he never voted for the Iraq War when he wasn't in congress in order to do so. I still voted for Obama and that wouldn't be enough to sway me one way or another on Wells but I would also shy away from using that as a selling point for him.

"Because you think all corporate money has strings attached? Well then, I guess you should look for a candidate who's not taking any corporate money. Who would that be?"
Yes, all corporate money comes with strings attached. All strings are not negative strings however. Money is influence, always has been and always will be. Every donation from a business comes with the hope or expectation that they will have a voice on certain issues. I am not expecting a candidate that refuses corporate money, but it would be nice.

by J.R. on Mar 14, 2014 2:28 pm • linkreport

A serious display of mental gymnastics here by those looking to disparage Wells. How can you turn "I don't take corporate money" into a bad thing?

by MLD on Mar 14, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

the part about his campaign ad that is incorrect is the part about him refusing it?

Yes.

He never cleared that up in the City Paper article

He was quoted as saying "It's nice of my campaign to believe that and write that on my behalf." right after the author wrote "Wells concedes that the ad was written confusingly." Which I think clears it up.

Tommy Wells didn't write the City Paper article.

Similar to Obama touting that he never voted for the Iraq War when he wasn't in congress in order to do so.

To be fair, he was on the record as opposing the war at the time of the vote. I believe there is video of him giving a speech against it. So, I think he touted that he opposed the war, not that he didn't vote for it.

by David C on Mar 14, 2014 3:06 pm • linkreport

"To be fair, he was on the record as opposing the war at the time of the vote. I believe there is video of him giving a speech against it. So, I think he touted that he opposed the war, not that he didn't vote for it"

My issue with that is that it is very easy to stand on the outside opposing something versus actually being accountable for your vote one way or another. Many politicians vote with their careers in mind, not always with their heart. I am not saying that if he was in the Senate at the time he would still vote with his conviction but we have no way of knowing.
It is the same thing with Wells. If he was never offered money from Thompson then its partly BS to tout yourself as being morally superior to other candidates who were offered and did take it. Again, not saying this is a make or break issue for me when voting. I don't expect politicians to be squeaky clean.

by J.R. on Mar 14, 2014 4:18 pm • linkreport

@J.R.

Pretty sure there's plenty of corporate money to be had for candidates who make it known that they want it. This isn't the same as being against something you never had the chance to vote for in the first place; it's not at all the same.

Again, not saying this is a make or break issue for me when voting. I don't expect politicians to be squeaky clean.

Not sure that that's a good explanation for trying to take a characteristic that is by all accounts positive and twist it around into something negative. There can't be any anti-corruption candidates by your definition, since why would outside interests approach them, knowing their stance?

by MLD on Mar 14, 2014 4:41 pm • linkreport

"Not sure that that's a good explanation for trying to take a characteristic that is by all accounts positive and twist it around into something negative"

I wasn't explaining anything. I was just stating how I feel. That you feel I am trying to twist something into being negative is more your issue, not mines.

by J.R. on Mar 14, 2014 5:00 pm • linkreport

If he was never offered money from Thompson then its partly BS to tout yourself as being morally superior to other candidates who were offered and did take it.

If that were it, then I'd agree. And I also agree that it would be more compelling if he had turned down money. But,

1. Pointing out that Jeffrey Thompson wasn't interested in supporting Well (while supporting his opponent in 2010), but did support Gray, Bowser, Orange and Evans is totally with merit. It says something about Thompson's opinion of Wells.

2. Not only did Wells not get money from Thompson, he didn't ask for it. The others did. They wanted to be in the Jeffrey Thompson business. So it would be more accurate to say that he's the only major candidate who never asked Thompson for money.

3. Gray did worse than get money from Thompson. And Bowser's campaign got money that's suspicious. "At the beginning of her first campaign in 2007, Bowser received more than 50 donations of $500 (the maximum allowed) on a single day from individuals and corporations with ties to Jeff Thompson, including Jeanne Clarke Harris, who pleaded guilty last summer to being part of straw-donor schemes." So far there is no evidence that Bowser got straw-donor money, but it's enough to raise an eyebrow, I think.

4. Would Wells have taken the money if offered? The answer, at worst, is probably. For everyone else, we know the answer is yes. That is also a claim with merit.

5. What he's saying is true. BS is false. People are smart enough to discount the information appropriately.

Many politicians vote with their careers in mind, not always with their heart. I am not saying that if [Obama] was in the Senate at the time he would still vote with his conviction but we have no way of knowing.

No, but as a distinguishing point it is totally valid. Taking a public opinion, even on an issue one doesn't vote on, also has career implications. What you're saying basically means that one's voting records can't be a campaign issue.

by David C on Mar 16, 2014 5:15 pm • linkreport

IF Tommy Wells does not win the Democratic primary I sincerely hope he would run as an Independent in the General election. If Fenty had done in the general election this he would have definitely won the Mayoral race.

by DG on Mar 18, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

I agree, hope TW runs as an independent. In Georgetown have seen only Evans and Bowser signs. Has TW given up on us here? That is a mistake.

by LouDC on Mar 18, 2014 4:55 pm • linkreport

I'm at a huge crossroads right now not knowing who to vote for. There are a couple of issues for me:

1) No, I don't want "business as usual" ethics questions to continue, but I really DO want "business as usual" economic development and progress to continue. Like it or not, there is a HUGE standstill within departments every time an administration changes. For some big projects in town that GGW supports, they will be hugely (and negatively) impacted by a mayoral change.

2) Although I agree most with Wells on the issues, I really don't see him as a great manager/administrator. To me he's more big-picture, up or down vote, not an architect of an effective bureaucracy. I worry about that, because DC really needs a great manager.

3) I agree with this statement r.e. Wells from a previous commenter: "I'm also rather annoyed by the tasteless bashing and aggressiveness of staunch Wells supporters in person and on social media. Hell the official campaign account even retweets some of the tasteless stuff. A true leader would run an above board campaign in all aspects." One supporter's tone in particular pops into my head every time I consider a Wells vote. Her condescension and absolutely rudeness online ruins the prospect for me.

I'd actually convinced myself right before the JT plea that I could live with voting for Gray, but now... I don't think so. Maybe I will go ahead and vote for Wells. I'm not sure I'll know my vote until April 1. Like a lot of folks, I'm still watching to see how this all plays out.

by M in DC on Mar 19, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

I think it's fair to question whether or not Wells can handle the day to day running of the city. It's not easy and the only candidate who has shown they can do it has been Gray. But, I think that if Wells is able to manage a massively underfunded campaign well enough to win the election, then he's probably a good administrator. If not, problem solved.

As for rudeness of supporters, I can see how that would turn you off. But it's not entirely fair to hold the behavior of his supporters against him (are we talking staff or what?). I've never known Tommy to be anything other than polite.

by David C on Mar 19, 2014 4:25 pm • linkreport

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