Candidates for the District’s 2014 mayoral race aimed to solidify their slots on the primary ballot this week.
Thursday marked the final deadline for hopefuls to file the nominating petitions that will earn them a place on the April 1 Democratic primary ballot. To qualify, each candidate needed to collect 2,000 signatures from registered Democrats, but most boasted larger numbers in hopes they would survive challenges from opponents.
Mayor Vincent Gray’s campaign claims to have turned in more than 8,200 signatures, declaring the total a “huge success” in the build-up to his Jan. 11 campaign kickoff event.
Gray is running against four members of the D.C. Council: Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent Orange and Tommy Wells. The Bowser campaign reported it had submitted almost 9,000 signatures. Evans submitted more than 10,000 signatures Thursday morning. Orange claimed to have collected about 6,300. The Wells campaign reported more than 5,500 signatures, with a few stragglers delivering more petitions late Thursday afternoon.
Restaurateur Andy Shallal had invited supporters to Busboys and Poets at 14th and V streets Northwest for a New Year’s Day petition drop-off during which he hoped to boost his final tally. The campaign claimed a total of 4,500 signatures on Thursday afternoon. Former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis submitted more than 6,000 signatures on Thursday afternoon.
So far, 13 mayoral candidates have picked up paperwork from the District’s Board of Elections. Spokeswoman Tamara Robinson said a list of the candidates who met the deadline would be available Thursday evening. Regulations require the board to make a preliminary determination as to which candidates qualify in the three days following the deadline.
The 10-day challenge period, during which any registered voter can inspect photocopies of the petitions, then challenge the validity of the signatures, begins Saturday. If enough signatures are disqualified, candidates can be booted from the ballot.
If District political trends continue, the winner of the April 1 Democratic primary will likely become D.C.’s next mayor. That rule has proved true in every election since the city was granted home rule.
Councilmember David Catania, an independent, has indicated he might challenge the winning Democratic nominee in the general election. Catania formed an exploratory committee in early December.
Meanwhile, Bruce Majors has declared he will run on the Libertarian ticket, and James Caviness is making his second run as a Republican.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.