Ward 5 Councilman Kenyan McDuffie (WI file photo)
Ward 5 Councilman Kenyan McDuffie (WI file photo)

Kenyan McDuffie, the D.C. Council member who is a candidate for District attorney general, was ruled ineligible for the June 21 Democratic primary ballot by the D.C. Board of Elections on Monday because he lacks the required credentials for the position.

One of McDuffie’s opponents, Bruce Spiva, challenged the lawmaker’s qualifications before the board. District law requires the attorney general to be “actively engaged” in the practice of law five of the 10 years before assuming the position.

The statute explains active engagement as being a practicing attorney in the District, a judge, a professor of law in the city, or employed by the District or federal government. An attorney for the McDuffie campaign argued before the board that the councilmember practiced active engagement by serving on the District’s legislative body since 2012 and maintaining his law license with the District of Columbia Bar.

Additionally, McDuffie has worked as a prosecutor for the state’s attorney in Prince George’s County and in the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division.

In addition to Spiva, other candidates in the Democratic primary are Ryan Jones and Brian Schwalb.

In a statement released by his campaign, McDuffie said he will fight the election board’s ruling by taking the matter to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

“Let me be clear, today’s ruling was an attack on our democracy and on working people in D.C.,” he said. “Unelected bureaucrats, prompted by a frivolous challenge from a corporate lawyer, who is funding his campaign with the millions he made defending powerful interests like Facebook and Amazon, telling a lifelong District resident who has spent his entire life fighting for working families that he’s ‘not qualified’ is exactly what it looks like. We’re taking this ruling to the courts where we expect to win on appeal. Just this morning, several of the original authors of the statute discredited this challenge as being well outside the intent of the language they helped write.”

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. This smacks of stance racism, an uguly misdirection for the District of Columbia, who is sitting on the Board of Elections?

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