D.C. Democratic mayoral candidate Robert White, hoping to defeat current Mayor Bowser, who hopes to secure a third term in office, has received several key endorsements during his campaign. (WI file photo)
D.C. Democratic mayoral candidate Robert White, hoping to defeat current Mayor Bowser, who hopes to secure a third term in office, has received several key endorsements during his campaign. (WI file photo)

Several candidates seeking office for both District mayor and attorney general have received endorsements and/or challenges as they seek to engage voters for the June 21 primary.

On June 21, District voters will go to the polls to nominate candidates for D.C. delegate, mayor, D.C. Council chairman, at-large party candidates for council and for council members for Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6. 

The winners in the primary races will compete in the November 8 general election for their respective positions. While all offices remain important, most eyes seem focused on who will emerge victorious as the next mayor and attorney general in the Democratic primary showdown.

Robert White, a D.C. Democratic at-large council member and a mayoral candidate in the primary, continues to attract voters, recently receiving the endorsement of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU).

“We are proud to endorse Robert White to be the next mayor of D.C.,” said the Washington Teachers’ Union in a statement on April 12. “Robert is a vocal champion of public education and a consistent presence in public schools where he has listened to and partnered with teachers. We know that as mayor, he will continue to work with teachers to ensure schools are a productive, healthy environment for students and staff.”

White expressed appreciation for the endorsement, saying “as mayor, I will seek out teachers’ feedback and engagement as we work aggressively to make our schools work for every student.”

Markus Batchelor, a former Ward 8 representative on the D.C. Board of Education, said the WTU nod should help White in his bid to unseat D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and surpass his other opponents who include Council member Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) and political activist James Butler.

“Robert getting the support of the teachers’ union is super important,” Batchelor told the Informer. “It is something to be taken seriously. Education and the future of the schools is on top of the mind of voters in this city. With 5,000 active and retired teachers working on his behalf, he will be able to send a strong message to voters and standout in basically a three-way race.”

White has also been endorsed by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, AFSCME District Council 20, DC for Democracy, the DC Working Families Party, Revolution DC and the DC Latino Caucus. 

Bowser has been endorsed by Emily’s List according to the campaign website. 

Trayon White’s campaign did not mention any endorsements when contacted by the Informer.

In the race for District attorney general, Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie received support on April 12 from the Service Employees International Union 32BJ, the Baltimore-Washington Laborers’ District Council, LiUNA and UNITE HERE Local 25.

“We will be working tirelessly in the coming months to elect Kenyan McDuffie as D.C.’s next attorney general,” said John Boardman, UNITE HERE Local 25’s executive secretary-treasurer. 

“During his years on the D.C. Council, Kenyan has been a steadfast champion for hospitality workers. We know that as attorney general, he’ll fight to protect workers’ rights at their jobs, in their homes and across the District,” he said. 

Jaime Contreras, the executive vice president of 32BJ SEIU, said McDuffie has been a reliable ally in its “fight for good, family-sustaining jobs.” 

Julio Palomo, business manager for the Baltimore-Washington Laborers’ District Council, LiUNA, said McDuffie “will be the people’s lawyer and will hit the ground running.”

Additionally, McDuffie, like White, has been endorsed by AFSCME District Council 20. McDuffie said the labor endorsements reflect his desire to help working District residents.

“Working families are the backbone of the District of Columbia,” he said. “I am proud to stand with my friends in the labor community and honored to have their support. When we work together, we are unstoppable.”

Despite McDuffie’s union support, Racine chose to support another candidate to succeed him. Racine said after speaking with McDuffie, Brian Schwalb, Bruce Spiva and Ryan Jones, Schwalb emerged as the best candidate, saying “it wasn’t even close.”

Schwalb has also received the endorsement of Ironworkers Local 5 and United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters.

Candidacy Challenges Ongoing

The D.C. Board of Elections revealed on its website 23 challenges to candidates in the primary. 

The challengers want the board to examine whether the defending candidate has enough legitimate signatures to be on the primary ballot. While many of the challenges have to do with party positions such as Democratic, Republican or Libertarian committee members, the challenge the White campaign made to the Trayon White organization continues.

“We are fighting the effort from others to have us removed from the ballot,” a spokeswoman from the Trayon White campaign told the Informer.

In addition, the Bruce Spiva campaign has challenged McDuffie’s candidacy based on the Ward 5 council member not meeting the legal requirements to be attorney general as well as his nominating petitions, according to the board’s website.

A spokesman for the board told The Informer that the final candidates eligible to appear on the primary ballot will be determined by April 25.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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1 Comment

  1. Robert White should be our next Mayor. I’m sure he will put humanity, education, displacement, and cure for crimes on the top of the list for the people, by the people, with the people. Long term Effective Solutions is priority one. Together WE can make a large difference in this city’s recovery. Chris

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