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The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

As mayoral candidates meet for first debate, Vincent Gray under fire

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Susan Huang and Colleen Murphy.

With the city’s incumbent mayor still missing from the race, candidates blasted the corruption they said is eroding city politics in the first debate of the 2014 election.

Six of the city’s 10 candidates participated in the debate, which was held in a packed room at a downtown law firm, and all vowed to end politics as usual if elected.

The candidates acknowledged the absence of Mayor Vincent Gray, who has remained silent on whether he will seek reelection. As an incumbent, Gray was technically allowed to participate in the debate, which was hosted by the D.C. Bar Association.

Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor
Erica Christian | Contributing Photo Editor

Foggy Bottom’s Council member, Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, touted his 22 years of experience throughout the night. He said his clean record made him an ideal choice to replace Gray and bring more transparency to the government.

“It’s a problem of the people [elected], no question about it,” said Evans, who is one of four legislators in the race.

All candidates demanded a more honest and open administration, which Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal said that starts with the city’s top leader.

“If the mayor is under a cloud of suspicion, then the whole city is under that cloud,” Shallal said.

Council members Muriel Bowser, D-Ward 4, Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, and Vincent Orange, D-At-Large, also participated in the debate, as well as former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis.

The event was moderated by local news host Bruce DePuyt, though the candidates mostly ignored the debate format and chose not to challenge their opponents.

With less than six months until the race, candidates also revealed glimpses of their platforms, from plans to raise the minimum wage above its current rate of $8.25, increase affordable housing, and reform the District’s public education system across all eight wards.

All of the Council members said they opposed raising the D.C. Height Act, which was also opposed by the majority of city residents who attended a hearing last month.

The race officially began last Friday when candidates picked up the petitions that will need 2,000 signatures before Jan. 2 to appear on the ballot in April’s Democratic primary.

This post was updated on Nov. 13 at 11:56 p.m. to reflect the following correction:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet incorrectly reported the position of Council member Vincent Orange. He is an at-large member. We regret this error.

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