Candidates Ready for Ward 6 Race in D.C.
James Wright | 10/16/2013, 3 p.m.
The race for the Ward 6 D.C. Council seat has started and two contenders with strong ties to seasoned political figures are squaring off.
The decision by D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) to run for mayor of the District in 2014 has opened up a seat, an uncommon occurrence in District politics. Darrel Thompson, a former aide to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Charles Allen, a former chief of staff to Wells, have entered the race, but one formidable Ward 6 contender has decided to stay out of the contest.
"Family issues preclude me from entering the race," said Francis Campbell, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for 6B10.
Campbell, 62, said earlier this year that he intended to run for the council seat but instead has decided to back one of the two leading candidates in the race.
The party primaries will be held on April 1, 2014 and the general election will take place on Nov. 4.
Wells, 56, has represented Ward 6 since 2007. The ward is the only one in the city that has portions of all four quadrants within its boundaries and includes landmarks such as the U.S. Capitol, Nationals Stadium, Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and the economically booming areas of H Street in Northeast, NoMa (North Massachusetts Avenue), the Southwest Waterfront and parts of downtown that include the Penn Quarter and Chinatown neighborhoods.
District census statistics indicate that Ward 6 is 50.5 percent white, 40.3 percent black with the rest consisting of Latinos, Asians and Native Americans.
In addition to working with Wells, Allen has served as president of the Ward 6 Democrats and worked as the policy director for the DC Primary Care Association. Allen said that he’s ready to take his mentor's place.
"Having served my Ward 6 neighbors in a variety of roles over the last decade, I am ready and excited to take on the challenge of representing their interests as a member of the D.C. Council," he said.
Allen launched his bid formally on Tuesday, Oct. 15 and plans to visit Ward 6 residents at their homes to listen to their concerns. Thompson, 43, however, started his campaign in August with an exploratory committee and made it official on Oct. 6. at the Cava Mezze restaurant in Southeast.
Thompson said during his announcement, with 75 in attendance that he wants to bring a new perspective to the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest.
"We have had enough of status quo leadership and insider politics," said Thompson, referring indirectly to Allen. "If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, it's a duck. We need new leadership in Ward 6."
Thompson is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff for intergovernmental and external affairs for Reid. A resident of Northeast, Thompson is a native of the District and has also lived in Baltimore.
He is a cum laude graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore and holds a master of public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. On Thursday, Oct. 10, Thompson released a statement that said he’s raised over $60,000 for his campaign to date.