Loose Lips

Cork Wine Bar Owner Enters At-Large Race

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Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal only has one day left as the District's sole restaurateur-turned-political candidate. Khalid Pitts, who owns Logan Circle's Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market and Tasting Room with his wife, tells LL that he'll file papers tomorrow to run as an independent in November's at-large election.

Pitts, 46, works as the treasurer for the District's Health Benefit Exchange Authority and formerly as a campaign director for the Service Employees International Union. With the eventual Democratic nominee expected to win one of the two at-large seats available in the general election, he'll be competing with an increasingly busy field for the set-aside non-majority-party seat David Catania is leaving to run for mayor.

Pitts said he'd been mulling a run for six months, with the final decision coming with his wife more recently. "About three weeks ago we had our talk over a glass of wine—or should I say a bottle of wine," Pitts says.

Following the long-honored tradition of District Democrats switching their party registration to pursue the set-aside, Pitts filed papers today to change his party registration to "independent."

Pitts tells LL that he'd focus on—what else?—education and housing on the Council. Pitts and his businesses gave a combined $1,000 to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham's 2010 re-election.

Like Shallal, Pitts says he'll be contributing some of his campaign funds himself. “You got to be in it to win it," Pitts says.

Photo courtesy Khalid Pitts

  • Tom

    Long honored tradition??? Democrats didn't figure that trick out until 2008! Those were Republican seats and Republicans / Statehood green before that!

  • Will Sommer

    @Tom

    Nope. I just Nexised this from a 1987 Post article about Bill Lightfoot:

    "Lightfoot, who has switched from Democrat to independent status to satisfy a home rule provision limiting majority party control..."

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  • Typical DC BS

    Just another Democratic scammer. A union flunkie seeking election to hand out more tax dollars to DC union employees? Please - PASS.

  • Tom

    @Will Sommer, the last election Bill Lightfoot won was in 1992 after that those seats were helad by Schwartz, Hilda Mason, David Catania. That didn't change until 2008 when Michael Brown ran and won a set aside seat. Then in 2012 David Grasso did the same. That's nearly a 20 year gap, which can hardly be called a tradition.

  • noodlez

    ANYONE. ANYBODY! JUST NOT GAYTANIA!

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  • http://gleeaikin.blogspot.com G. Lee Aikin

    This is an interesting array of people who may switch from DC's Majority Party to Independent to run for office. To consider this a "long honored tradition" is to defame the meaning of honored. The Home Rule Charter clearly states that of the five at large offices (4 At Large and the Chairman of the Council), two CANNOT be from the Majority Party. There is one potential candidate among the group (which includes Tommy Wells, Yvette Alexander, Elissa Silverman, Rev. Hagler, and Kahlid Pitts) who would change their registration from Democrat to Independent who already holds a Council office. Should that person win the At Large race, then a vacancy would need to be filled. The last Special Election to fill such a vacancy in Spring 2013 cost around $1,000,000. To launch such a run to "to focus more on broader concerns" neglects the very serious concern that we would all pay the million dollars such a win would cost.

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