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Tommy Wells Files Papers to Begin Exploratory Committee for Mayoral Campaign

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Tom Sherwood reports on the first candidate to throw his hat into the ring for the D.C. mayoral race.

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Washington’s next mayoral election is officially more than a year away, but the race got under way Monday with papers filed by Ward 6 D.C. Council member Tommy Wells.

For two years Mayor Vincent Gray has faced serious federal investigations by U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen into a lucrative shadow campaign that help propel Gray to victory in 2010. With another election looming, Gray hasn't said if he'll run again, and other candidates are lining up for their own campaigns.

Wells, who represents Capitol Hill and near Southwest, was first to file formal papers to begin an exploratory committee -- with a decision to come in two months. Wells also would be a special election candidate if Gray were forced from office by scandal.

Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans said he’ll run, no exploring necessary.

“I don't believe in exploratory committees,” he said. “I don't see really a need for them. You either want to run for mayor or you don't want to run for mayor.”

Both Evans and Wells said the majority black electorate is ready to consider a white mayor, which would be a first.

“I will do what's right for D.C. every time,” Wells said.

“I think what the electorate wants is a good mayor,” Evans said.

Both could face a strong challenge from Ward 4 Council member Muriel Bowser. She succeeded former Mayor Adrian Fenty on the council and now is expected to seek the mayor's office. She knows the election calendar.

“We know that we have a primary campaign coming up in just over 400 days, and so anybody who's going to be successful in that will get out and talk to as many people as possible,” she said. “I know how to put together winning campaigns. Should that be my decision, we'll come out of the gate really strong.”

At-large Council member David Catania also is a potential candidate, but he hasn't said anything yet.

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