The 2014 District of Columbia mayoral election campaign began in earnest Saturday, as D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser officially launched her candidacy.
In a two-minute, 40-second YouTube video, the Ward 4 Councilmember said "For many months, people from all over the District have been talking to me in grocery stores, living rooms and churches, on the train, and whereever they see me about what's next for our city, urging me to step up and to speak out for them."
Bowser went on to say, "Corruption has robbed us of our focus, our momentum, our need to think big and to act swiftly," an apparent reference to the ongoing FBI investigation into the 2010 campaign of incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray.
A native of Northeast, Bowser won a seat on the Council in 2007 following a special election to replace then-Mayor Adrian Fenty and was re-elected in 2008 and again last year. She is the first candidate to openly declare a run for Mayor in this election cycle. Her Council colleague Tommy Wells (Ward 6) has launched an exploratory campaign, while Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) is also believed to be considering a bid. Meanwhile, Gray has not said whether or not he will run for re-election.
NBC Washington political analyst Chuck Thies assessed Bowser's chances here earlier this week, saying in part:
"[O]n paper, she's as close to the perfect candidate as can be found in the District today.
"She is well received across black, white and Latino communities. She is young, but not inexperienced. She is a good public speaker who comes across as interested, caring and unpretentious. She is free from the baggage of scandal. She seems to be ready to put her shoulder to the wheel ... No one is unbeatable. Bowser, though, is an immediate front runner."