Republicans Field Former Justice Department Lawyer for Council Chairman
The Republican field for November's D.C. Council races has doubled in size today—from one candidate, to two! D.C. GOP executive Robert Turner told the D.C. Board of Elections this morning that former Department of Justice lawyer Kris Hammond has been selected by the party to run against incumbent Democrat Phil Mendelson for Council chairman.
In an ominous sign for Hammond's chances, Republicans are only able to put him on the ballot at this late stage because no one ran for the office during the Republican primary on April 1. Turner says that the Republicans, who are also backing at-large candidate Marc Morgan, still have to consider whether to field candidates for mayor or other Council races.
Hammond, a former Eckington Advisory Neighborhood Commission member who now lives in Trinidad, considered running for mayor before opting to go after Mendelson instead.
“The problem with the Council lately and for so much time is that there’s no Republican presence there," says Hammond spokeswoman Rina Shah.
With roughly three-quarters of the District's voters registered as Democrats, LL doubts that Hammond is keeping Mendelson up at night. In April, Mendelson easily fended off a primary challenge from perennial candidate Calvin Gurley, and he had more than $25,000 in his bank account by the June 10 finance reporting deadline. Plus, Mendelson has been flexing some new influence lately, successfully passing his budget over complaints from Vince Gray and other councilmembers.
Which isn't to say Mendelson doesn't have enemies. In the primary, longtime Mendelson foes in the police union printed a series of mailers against him, even though he didn't face a credible challenger.
"We'll be talking to any and all interested parties," Turner says.
Photo courtesy Kris Hammond