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OT: Marion Barry's Back


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By Craig Timberg<br />Washington Post Staff Writer<br />Wednesday, March 6, 2002; 7:04 PM <br /><br />Former four-term Mayor Marion Barry said today that he will run for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council this fall, hoping to return to what he dubbed "my calling" of public office.<br /><br />Barry, whose birthday is today, said, "I'm 66 years of age, healthy, wise and strong." Barry said he feels compelled to challenge at-large Council member Phil Mendelson (D) because his leadership has been "woefully lacking."<br /><br />To prepare for his third political comeback, Barry said he has created an exploratory committee with the intention of formally announcing a campaign in May.<br /><br />The prospect of a new Barry candidacy has been the talk of the District's political community for the past two months, with some reacting with alarm and others with excitement over the return of the city's most charismatic and polarizing politician.<br /><br />Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) has kept uncharacteristically quiet when asked about a candidacy by Barry, and even some former supporters have publicly opposed another try for public office.<br /><br />Longtime Barry supporter Howard Croft, who worked in Barry administrations twice, also said a return to politics is a mistake.<br /><br />"I don't think Marion was a particularly effective mayor in his last term as mayor, and I don't think he'll be an effective council member," Croft said.<br /><br />But Terrance Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, applauded a Barry candidacy, saying, "He puts the issues that face the city squarely on the table. There's no ducking issues when Barry's in the race."<br /><br />Political analysts say Barry will be a strong challenger because of his campaigning skills and his deep, sustained connections to voters, particularly African Americans, who are a majority in the city but have voted in low percentages in recent elections. The 13-member D.C. Council has a white majority by a margin of one – a source of irritation to many blacks living in what was once called "Chocolate City."<br /><br />Barry said he would run as a Democrat, meaning a direct challenge to Mendelson, who is white and has a low-key style that has left him vulnerable in his reelection bid.<br /><br />Referring to Mendelson not by name but as "the Democratic incumbent," Barry said he had not been active enough in speaking out on issues affecting the city's youth, senior citizens and minority businesses.<br /><br />"The present incumbent is woefully lacking in speaking out on important issues," said Barry.<br /><br />Mendelson, who joined the council in 1999, declined to respond directly to the prospect of a Barry candidacy, saying only that he intends to run a clean campaign. He defended his record, noting that he led recent efforts to protect residents from predatory lending, to improve management of city playgrounds and parks, and to clean up a filthy food warehouse for public schools.<br /><br />"Voters will have to be the judge," he said. "They will have to look at the candidates based on their merits and their history."<br /><br />Barry, who in recent weeks has been speaking at three or four city churches each Sunday, said he gathered supporters together last Saturday to form the exploratory committee. He said the group included backers from different races and ethnic backgrounds, as well as all parts of the city, although he declined to name members of the committee or detail how much money they had raised.<br /><br />Barry was mayor from 1979 to 1991, when he declined to seek reelection after his videotaped drug arrest at a downtown hotel. After serving prison time for cocaine possession, he returned to politics by winning a seat on the council representing Ward 8. Two years later Barry stunned the nation by winning back his old job as mayor.<br /><br />Barry said he was entirely free of the substance-abuse problems that led to his downfall 12 years ago.<br /><br />"It's great waking up in the morning, clean and sober," said Barry.<br /><br />Staff writer Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

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I was just watching the story on channel 9. They have a poll going on their website on whether he should run for the at-large seat and so far it's 85% against.<br /><br />The guy is 66 years old, he's diabetic and he's recovering from cancer. I don't know why he'd want to run, I guess that power rush is just too hard to resist. The city is still living down his antics; even after years with Sharon Pratt Kelly and now Anthony Williams, DC is still known as the place with the crackhead mayor. He should just stay retired and make way for some capable younger pol.

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Like roaches and herpes, you just can't get rid of this guy.<br /><br />He's become a sad joke. When he was first elected it was like a breath of fresh air, a new young stud to shove away the doddering old politicians in DC at the time. Now he's just a bad joke that won't go away.<br /><br />He'll win, too.

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you know its funny to see guys like him continue to make noise ("the ***** set me up!)....and somehow hold elected office.<br /><br />There must be plenty of minority, Crack-head, power drunk, imbeciles in the districts he wants to "represent"<br /><br />oh yea, its DC after all.

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He just won't go away. And that's a shame. I been lost my respect for the man. He f**ked up the city finances. Drove a lot us out here to MD. Now just when I think the city is cool enough for me to move back into, I hear his name again. He need to go somewhere far away and chill out. Like I mentioned in another thread awhile back, this fool stood RIGHT in front me at my high school graduation and told us to stay drug free. Then he turns around and get busted sucking on that glass d**k while trying to get some from the "b" that supposedly set him up. <br /><br /> <img border="0" title="" alt="[Mad]" src="mad.gif" /> <img border="0" title="" alt="[Mad]" src="mad.gif" /> <img border="0" title="" alt="[Mad]" src="mad.gif" /> <br /><br />MAN GO AWAY!!!<br /> <br /> <small>[ March 07, 2002, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: FunBunch2FunNGun ]</small>

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I like the guy. DC statehood was gaining steam until the morons in the District elected him mayor again. That sealed the deal. So thanks Crackhead, you are the reason DC didnt get statehood. I like you for that.<br /><br />Oh, and dont be fooled. If he does run, he will win HANDS DOWN.

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