By C.N. Staff Writer
Petition season has officially come to an end. On January 2, 2014 all declared candidates who are running for any political office across the District were required to turn in their petitions. Nine candidates turned in their petitions, incumbent Vincent C. Gray, plus challengers Carlos Allen, Muriel Bowser, Christian Carter, Jack Evans, Reta Jo Lewis, Vincent Orange, Andy Shallal and Tommy Wells — though that list could be culled further though petition challenges.
The DC election season will begin its second phase beginning in January. Candidates turned in their petitions on the second, who will decide who actually gets the opportunity to make the ballot officially. Over the past few months the city has been bombarded at holiday parties, grocery stores, libraries and public spaces with campaigners petitioning for their respective candidates. Mayoral candidates have to collect 2,000 registered democratic signatures from District residents in order to get on the ballot, while ward-based contenders have fewer signatures to turn in.
The January 2nd deadline to turn in petitions will determine who will officially make the ballot. This will serve as a critical moment in the campaign. In past elections, candidates have been kicked off the ballot for invalid signatures- anywhere from forged signatures, unregistered signatures and deceased signatures.
Since the petition season began Mayor Vincent Gray has announced his intention to run for reelection. For months now, District voters and pundits wondered if Gray would run considering his looming federal investigation into his 2010 campaign. Several of his 2010 campaign aides have been indicted for running a shadow campaign, but Gray has remained untouched. His formal bid into the ring adds to the already crowded field with four sitting councilmember’s and two outsiders running to become the city’s next mayor.
In the December financial filing report Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans was ahead of the pack in fundraising dollars, breaking into the $1 million bracket with Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser close behind raising a total of $920,000. Councilmember Bowser has more cash on hand than Evans with $756,000 in the bank compared to Evans $582,000 in the bank. Her campaign has proven it can raise money and still show fiscal responsibility leading up to the primary date. At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange reported raising $80,000 and spending zero. Former State Department official Rita Lewis has raised $203,000 with only $58,000 cash on hand.