City Desk

Kelvin Robinson Pondering Entrance to Council Race

0405kelvinThe at-large council race stands to get still more interesting: Kelvin Robinson, former chief of staff to Mayor Anthony A. Williams, is pondering an entry to the at-large D.C. Council race.

"I've had a lot of conversations," Robinson told LL last week. "It is something I am considering very seriously."

Robinson eased back into public life last year, when he won a special election to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A, which covers the neighborhoods stretching east and north of Capitol Hill. Earlier this year, Robinson was elected chair of the body.

Scuttlebutt dating back a year had Robinson setting himself up for a run against Ward 6 council incumbent Tommy Wells, but that potential seems to have faded. Robinson did not rule out a ward run last week but said he's "leaning toward" the at-large race. (For what it's worth, he also attended Wells' campaign kickoff last month at Eastern Market.)

Rather, Robinson said he'd be looking to replicate the surfeit of council leadership in Ward 7, which boasts not only Yvette Alexander, but at-larger Kwame Brown and Chairman Vincent Gray. "There might be some value in having two members from Ward 6," Robinson said. "That's a consideration of mine."

Robinson's entry as a Democrat would put him in direct competition with incumbent Phil Mendelson and former parks director Clark Ray, adding a new element to a downticket race now sure to be obscured by the mayor and chairman tilts. In the oft-cynical racial calculus of District politics, it is worth nothing that Robinson would represent the first black entrant into the at-large race. (The Rev. Carolyn Graham, another Williams administration official, was also toying with an at-large run last year.)

If Robinson were to run, he'd have to face questions about his fundraising while working for Williams, which earned him a Hatch Act investigation and an unexpected exit from Mayor Bowtie's employ.

But Robinson, a consultant by trade, would put that fundraising experience to work and draw on ongoing connections to the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and other business types. Of course, a similar resume didn't help Mendelson's last opponent much—the well-financed A. Scott Bolden went down in 2004 2006 by landslide margins—but Robinson may be counting on Ray to draw white votes from Mendelson.

Says Mendo: "Kelvin is an old friend. I welcome his getting into the race and I look forward to the campaign."

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Nelson, ANC 6A

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  • ChinainDC

    In addition to Kelvin's unethical fundraising while working for Williams, is this the anti-gay referendum candidate? Kelvin, according to his ANC website, serve as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington which opposed, and still opposes marriage equality in the District of Columbia.

  • DC Voter

    Another arrogant a''hole who couldn't get along with anyone as COS. Folks, remember that was the "Imperial" period of the Williams era and it was Robinson's doing all the way. And although he has a backside which resembles a '59 I don't mean a Chrysler Imperial. Lets not let this guy slide, he was a PR disaster - I kept expecting him to post armed gaurds at the the Wilson buldiing wearing those pointy headed prussian helmets a la Nixon.

    Trust me folks, this is one who would NEVER EVEN CONSIDER putting the ladder back down. We can certainly do better then this. So far only failed a''holes are running between this creep and that waste of time in Ward 1.

  • proballdc

    Let's see, Wells is chair of the committee that oversees DYRS, that has released dangerous youth that had been entrusted to them for 24 hr supervision by the courts, back to the community, where many were either killed or killed others (like the recent shooting of 9 people in SE--4 of which were under the supervision of DYRS). Wells vocally supported this "alternative" to detention experiment at the expense of community safety. He oversees the Dept of Human Services where 2 infants died at the D.C. General shelter and where drugs and staff sexual abuse ran rampant. He used his political might to force the Dept of Transportation to restore a city funded bus shuttle route on H Street that has duplicate service with Metro during a recession. In an effort to shield a vocal prejudiced few from the predominately black Metro bus route.

    If this man would lead anyway close to the way Williams led this city. He already has my vote.

    I was just waiting for an opponent to Wells to blossom.

    Way to go....

  • Truth Hurts

    @ proballdc,

    Try posting something that doesn't stoke racial divisions in this city.

  • Political Observer

    Let's ask Ward 7 voters and residents, "How's that triumvirate workin' out for ya?"

  • TheTruth

    @ Mike Debonis: The new website sucks. Elaine was right, who ever was the chucklehead that swithed your content management system needs to be fired. Who do I write to change it back. Its ugly and buggy.

    @ChinainDC, Political Observer (let's go for a two for one)

    Your screen names say a lot.
    You both write like first-year CEBers ( I know, I used to be one.

    Since, when did DC politics become about Republican core issues? DC politics has always been local and you can't google that. Stay out of local politics, you are both way over your head.

    Is this the best that $100,000 and Pro Bono PR can do?

    Observer, you should have your ass kicked for even using the word "triumvirate"

  • TheTruth

    @Political Observer
    @DC Voter

    Next time when you venture into DC from Arlington; to go happy hour on U Street or in Columbia Heights. Remember: They steal iPods and iPhones (and if you can get one, iPads) in DC. Leave the headphones at home and be aware of your surroundings.

  • proballdc

    @truthhurts: If facts stoke racial division, well, truth hurts.

  • Capitol Hill not Captain Hill

    I say do it...if the demographics are showing that Ward 6 is 60% AA then let Kelvin reach out to those of Potomac Gardens and Anacostia. As we forget Capitol Hill is a neighborhood of the many that makes up Ward 6. Too those who see the mayor's race as black on black issues...then to have a black and white candidates for the Ward 6 Council seat only makes the true demographic of DC relatively accurate, don't you think.

  • Wendy Glenn

    Mr. Robinson is NOT runnign against Mr. Wells, he is going to run for an At-Large seat. He was at Tommy's re-election announcement showing much support. I wish he would run against Mr. Wells to give the "forgotten" Capitol Hill resident a voice and a face.

  • Ward6Resident

    Say what you will, this is a man who will get things done. People all over the city are begging for the Williams days back, and I think Kelvin is someone who can bring some of that level headed thought back into our politics and the Council. I'm excited to see him run, for either position, because at least we'll be talking about some real issues.

  • WDC

    I'm pretty excited to have someone of his caliber running and look forward to seeing someone other than Phil "super soft on crime" Mendelson in charge of our crime laws in this city. Kelvin is a really bright guy with very strong credentials and Mendelson has got to go.