By C.N. Staff Writers
On Monday December 8th the Board of Elections and Ethics (B.O.E.E.) officially declared the late Councilman and “Mayor for Life” Marion Barry’s seat vacant, which means a Special Election would be held. BOEE has officially announced that the special election will be held on April 28, 2015.
It’s been 17 years since a special election had to be held for a council member’s death. Barry had represented Ward 8 on the City Council in 1994 before running again for Mayor and then in 2004 after he decided not to seek a mayoral reelection in 1998. Over the years he had created many allies who are now considering a run for his vacant seat.
Among them are at least, by the Capital News’ count, twenty potential candidates who may run. Many are familiar faces to the ward, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, civic association leaders, former council members, pastors, activists and some are newcomers who see this opportunity as their chance to make their mark on politics.
Potential candidates include: Christopher Barry, son of the late Marion S. Barry, Sr.; Charles Lindsey; Chief of Staff for Barry’s council office; Sandra Seegers; activist and longtime opponent in the City Council race against Barry; Sandy Allen; former councilmember for Ward 8; Edyie Whittington, former councilmember for Ward 8; Charles Wilson, former candidate in Ward 8 and ANC Commissioner; Arrington Dixon, former council Chairman and council member; Anthony Muhammad, ANC Commissioner; LaRuby May, former Barry staffer, board member of Congress Heights Civic Association, lawyer and community leader; Wanda Lockridge, widow of William Lockridge; Denise Rolark Barnes, daughter of late Calvin Rolark and publisher of Washington Informer; Trayon White, former Ward 8 State Board of Education representative, activist and perceived protégé of Barry; Jauhar Abraham, co-founder of Peaceaholics and community activist; Anthony Motley, preacher and activist; Natalie Williams, former spokeswoman for Barry, ANC Commissioner and former Ward 8 council candidate against Barry, Kristal Knight, board member of Congress Heights Civic Association, fomer Obama camapigner, Ward 8 gentrifier; Shelia Bunn, daughter of late James Bunn and current Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Gray; Eugene Kinlow, former State Board of Education candidate, longtime Ward 8 resident and ; Tierra Jolly, current Ward 8 State Board of Education member; Jacque Patterson, former Ward 8 council candidate and community leader.
Of the potential list of candidates the Capital News was able to speak to a few who had an array of answers when questioned about their potential run for the vacant seat.
Commissioner Muhammad said he is running because, “A. I can. B. I’ve been here all my life and C. I want to see financial improvement and employment rise for the people in Ward 8. Charles Wilson responded saying that there is a possibility he may run, but he hasn’t made any official plans yet. He said, “I really want to respect Barry and his burial.”
Barry’s son, Christopher, said “it’s up in the air,” and he is not commenting on anything until after his father’s funeral.
Trayon White said he is not a candidate right now and has not made a decision and won’t make a decision until after Barry is properly buried.
Jacque Patterson was quoted saying, “I can be more effective in the position where I am [Martha’s Table] and I’m going to stay where I am.”
Other potentials candidates denounced the rumor of their run and threw their support behind potential candidate, LaRuby May. Edyie Whittington, Kristal Knight, Sandy Allen and Arrington Dixon all said they are supporting May. Allen said, “LaRuby May all the way!”
Wanda Lockrige said, “I am not running.”
Barry’s Chief of Staff Charles Lindsey said the rumors about him running are not true. He said it’s inappropriate for people to make comments about his “friend, mentor and confidant” but left the door open that he hasn’t made a definitive decision.
At the time of press, potential candidates, Shelia Bunn, Natalie Williams, Denise Rolark Barnes, Eugene Kinlow, Anthony Motley, Tierra Jolly, Jauhar Abraham and Sandra Seegers could not be reached.
Petition’s were available on Monday December 8th for pickup and are due back to the B.O.E.E. by January 28th in order for candidates to be placed on the ballot. It is expected that there will be a few candidates out of this list who will launch a run, but none would say verifiably. There could also be sleeping candidates who will come out later in the race. For now, this is the list of names that the Capital News believes will make up the race.