Loose Lips

Tommy Wells Considering At-Large Run

Since Tommy Wells chose running for mayor over hanging on to his Ward 6 D.C. Council post, he's scheduled to leave the Wilson Building with fellow lame duck Jim Graham in January. Instead, though, Wells could end up just switching seats. With David Catania giving up his at-large seat to launch his own mayoral run, Wells says he's considering running for Catania's old seat.

If Wells opts to compete for the minority party set-aside at-large seat, which (since he missed the Democratic primary) is his only option for remaining on the Council, he'll have to switch his party registration to independent. Among Wells' competition if he makes the leap: Rev. Graylan Hagler, second-place 2013 at-large race candidate Elissa Silvermanthe owner of a Logan Circle wine bar, ex- Eleanor Holmes Norton staffer Robert White, an Adams Morgan ANC commissioner, and probably five more people by the time LL is done writing this.

Wells, who's heard from people urging him to run, says he'll make his decision in the next 45 days. If he opts not to run, Wells says he's trying to figure out how he can involve Anacostia River cleanup or the streetcar line in his post-Council career.

"I don't have sense of being incomplete or undone," Wells says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • DCShadyBoots

    Please tell me you're kidding!!!!

    Some roaches never die.

  • Calloway

    He should. Those are the two worst candidates ever. I'd vote for Barry sooner than Bowser and especially Catania (ack).

  • cminus

    I wouldn't blame Wells if he jumped from the Democratic party. He was treated pretty shabbily by the party establishment, and his solid base -- the people who voted for him for Mayor even though there was no way in hell he was going to do better than third -- is more than six times Vincent Orange's, and Orange currently *holds* an At-Large seat.

    ...actually, that's an idea. Maybe he should run against Orange in two years? He wouldn't have to leave the party, and based on the election results he'd beat Orange like a drum.

  • tntdc

    Assuming Catania stays in the mayor's race.

    They have until August 6 to decide what to run for.

  • Anonymous,Too

    Catania can make a hell of a lot more money in the private sector than he's making now, should he lose, so he's in it to win it.

    Bowser and her crew underestimate him at their peril.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    We DC residents are doomed......

  • http://leftforledroit.com Left for LeDroit

    He would also face LeDroit Park ANC Commissioner Marc Morgan, who won the DC GOP nomination for the seat.

  • GoodEvening

    If there are two seats available (Catania does indeed run), could both seats go to independents? In other words, is Bonds' seat also contested against the full candidate slate, or are all independents/Republicans competing against each other for the minority party set aside seat?

  • drez

    On the council he'd be the same voice in a crowd.
    He'd be more effective as the new director of OP.

  • MikenotIke

    @goodevening All candidates run together, so Bonds could conceivably lose. However. I will vote for Bonds and Catania over Wells if he runs. What a disgrace.

  • DCShadyBoots

    @Anonymous, you are correct about Catania. His fundraising machine is national. I'm hoping Team Bowser DOES underestimate him. My understanding is that they want to keep debates with him to a minimal. Hmmm. I wonder why.

  • Eastsideguy

    This trend toward being a fake Independent has to stop. One-party rule has not worked very well for the city. And they are violating the intent of the law on the books. Here it is in the Home Rule Act:
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, at no time shall there be more than three members (including the Chairman) serving at large on the Council who are affiliated with the same political party.” (Source: http://www.abfa.com/ogc/tit4.htm#401, TITLE IV -- THE DISTRICT CHARTER, PART A -- THE COUNCIL, Subpart 1 -- Creation of the Council, CREATION AND MEMBERSHIP, SEC. 401. [D.C. Code 1-221] (d) (3) )

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  • Tight Lips

    @cminus Wells would not be Orange in a city-wide election. Wells would get devoured in the debates, and all the CMs would endorse Orange over Wells.

    Just because Orange didn't receive a huge amount of votes during the Mayoral race, doesn't mean he isn't liked. Ward 5,7 and 8 would all come out and vote to get Orange in for another 4 years.

    Also, Orange has never been knocked out of a seat. If Nate Bennett Flemming can't unseat Anita Bonds, there is no way in hell that Wells could unseat Orange, especially if he changes his party affiliation to Independant.

  • yvette alexander too

    Tweet from CMYMA, which looks like Yvette Alexander....but may not be. Anyway, it would be interesting to have Wells and Alexander fight over Catania's and Bond's seats.

    @TommyWells I heard you were considering running At Large in November. I'm doing the same!

  • samantha

    Wells has to run for something even if it is Dog Catcher . No one will hire him so now he will pimp the city again . Charles Allen did all of the work for Ward 6 .
    As for him becoming Independent , that is a real joke !The airhead team of Bowser /Wells is over .Their two brains do not equal 1/20th Catania .Let the games begin !

  • Rob W

    In a similarly crowded field, Elissa Silverman got more votes in the special last year than Wells and Evans got combined in this years Mayoral election by a wide margin.

  • El Perro Sato

    I personally know Robert White and Ms. Silverman. I've worked alongside both of them as well as CM Wells.

    Wells is the perfect example of "people will believe anything." He stinks of booze and can't remember anyone's name (even people who he should remember) an hour after having multiple conversations with a person.

    His list of accomplishments includes the bag tax, which he didn't deserve credit for. Otherwise, that's it. Bag tax. And he pushes for bikes, which EVERYONE ON THE COUNCIL DOES.

    Wells is a doofus in a suit. At least with Silverman we get a genuine progressive. With Robert White, we get a guy who is battle tested, and who would be the 3rd ex- Holmes Norton staffer on the Council. Grosso and McDuffy have proven effective, so I'd gamble on another one of her protoges over Tommy any day of the week.

  • Jon Bon Jovi

    DC Home rule and politics are a joke. Wells lose the election as mayor and now he plans to run again for a city council seat. The guy fat ass need to disappear from public life.

  • DC Guy

    Brian White from Ward 1 appears to be running as well:


    He already raised more than 30k according to the recent filings.

  • cminus

    @TightLips, if Wells waits two years to run against Orange, there'd be no reason for him to switch to independent.

    And if he stays a Democrat, I'd give Wells a serious chance to defeat Orange. Wells's weakest wards were 7 and 8, where he got about 3% of the vote in the Mayoral election. Orange's weakest wards were 2 and 3, where he got less than one half of one percent of the vote and came within 12 and 9 votes, respectively, of losing to *Reta Jo Lewis*. That's not "I like you personally, but I'm voting for someone else" numbers -- that attitude gets you the kind of numbers Evans got). No, in Wards 2 and 3, Orange would be at risk of losing to a random homeless person who legally changed their name to "Not Vincent Orange". Given that Wards 2 and 3 turn out more votes than 7 and 8, I'd give that matchup as an edge to Wells.

    As for the rest of the city, in an At-Large race Ward 5 would presumably go back to Orange, but Ward 6 would probably go to Wells (unless you believe Orange can win over the Fentyites who came out for Bowser in 2014). Call that a tie, and that leaves Wards 1 and 4 to decide the election, and while Orange does have some strength there it'd hardly be a slam-dunk win.

  • Ugh

    It is pretty shameful when pol's (and Wells isn't the only one), desperate for their taxpayer funded job, will do anything to keep it. You gave up your seat to run for Mayor bub, you are done. Get a real job.

    Then again, folks like Wells can't get "real" jobs, they are unemployable outside of government work, especially considering the high 6 figure salary he was getting.

    If it wasn't for his Council position, Wells would be pulling in 70K a year at some local non-profit, and he would actually have to do something on a daily basis.

    Wells, we already know your electability for a city wide ticket. You just ran for Mayor and lost, badly. What makes you think those same city wide voters would put you back in another Council seat?

  • Tight Lips

    @cminus Wells would still lose. Remember, when Orange jumped into the Mayoral race, Vincent Gray did not declare his re-election campaign yet. Had Gray not ran, Orange would have received all of Gray's votes and probably would've beat Bowser.

    The media tries to make their Mayoral depictions a 2 person race with decent competitors. The media had already picked Bowser & Gray to be the front-runners. Everyone else they made out to be vote-splitting candidates.

    Wells, may be appealing to new DC residents, but most people don't like Wells. He is considering switching parties because he knows Dems will not come together for him.

    Once Orange was cleared of the Jeff Thompson situation, there really isn't much Wells can say to convince people he is better than Orange.

    His political record can't top Orange's.

    Wells claim to fame is decriminalizing marijuana, and that isnt enough to win, especially since his reasoning was catered towards the African American community.

    They will look at this and not vote for Wells.

    It's a lost cause for that guy unless he runs for Catania's seat.

  • This is too funny

    Has it become such a travesty that the gentrifiers are saying anybody but a black person be it a woman or man in the Mayor's Office. Might as well get Sharon Ambrose in her wheel-chair so she can start campaigning. Gee-whiz!!

    Don't believe the hype Tommy...it ain't worth-it. Take the time off and learn the Nae-Nae.

  • This is too funny

    @DC Shady Boots...you can only imagine the shade that will be thrown at these debates. Might as well have them all held in Rock Creek Park under the canopies of the elms and oaks. I can't wait to get the "t" on this set of everyone trying to serve each other with quips and barbs. Flamboyancy will be the necessary of two evils.

  • cminus

    "Wells, we already know your electability for a city wide ticket. You just ran for Mayor and lost, badly. What makes you think those same city wide voters would put you back in another Council seat?"

    @ugh, I dunno. Maybe you could ask the 1.89% of voters who cast their votes for Vincent Orange whether it's possible to be held to under 13% of the vote in an eight-way race for Mayor and still be able to win a city-wide election two years later?

    Seriously, let me repeat that, because I don't think people appreciate how badly Orange did. ONE POINT EIGHT NINE PERCENT. And yet nobody, including me, would conclude that Orange isn't going to be at least competitive in 2016. Speaking as someone who's voted both for and against Orange in the past, it really makes a difference who a candidate is running against, and that changes from election to election.

  • Eastsideguy

    Silverman is not a "genuine progressive." She is a rather tame liberal at best. Check out Eugene Puryear (eugenepuryear.com)! We must fight for affordable housing a LIVING wage (such as $15/hr minimum), and an immediate ban the box (about 10% of our population are returning citizens). We can expand the possibilities and make DC more about the people than big out of town developers.

  • Tight Lips

    @cminus lol, if 1.8% in a Mayoral race is bad, then why did they vote him BACK ON THE COUNCIL after he lost to Fenty in 2006?

    Remember, you voted for Fenty only to get tired of him and elect Gray.

    Now your voting for Bowser to get rid of Gray and potentially could have Catania.

    Every candidate that the people have chosen over Orange have wound up getting voted out or go to jail.

    You can believe those numbers if you want cminus, you clearly are underestimating Orange and what people think about him.

    Since Gray is no longer on the council, African American voters only have the following CMs to support:


    Bowser has already been labeled Fenty 2.0, all the other CMs are rookies joining the council outside of Evans, Mendelson, and Cheh.

    If Bowser does win Mayor, but does a horrible job, by 2018, Orange will be the person to beat Bowser lol.

    You can stall the progress or just let it happen.

    Orange believe it or not, is the best candidate to balance out all 8 wards

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  • cminus

    @Tight Lips, you've actually got my point: getting 1.9% in one election means less than you'd think when it comes to predicting the outcome of another -- but by that same token, Wells' "only" getting one-eighth of the vote in an eight-way race isn't disqualifying either. And election results are independent of who *should* be elected; saying that Orange is the candidate best suited to represent a large portion of the city is, sadly, not the same thing as saying he'll win.

    (For example, I didn't vote for Bowser and I'm afraid she'll be a poor Mayor, but that didn't stop her from winning. I ultimately went for Wells, but my second choice was Gray. I also voted for Cropp over Fenty and Orange over Kwame Brown. I knew these were almost certainly losing votes when I cast them, but I think they were the right ones, and I think history has already vindicated me on the last two.)

  • cminus

    Oh, and I think you forgot Barry and Bonds.

  • SEis4ME

    Cminus, I know he's your guy but even the best comparisons between Wells and Orange still won't translate into a win in Wells' column.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @SEis4ME, please explain. After all, all of your other predictions have been correct, so what's the rationale on Wells?


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