Less than two weeks after resigning from the D.C. Council, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) will be running in the upcoming special election to fill his old seat.
Evans filed to run on Jan. 27 in the Democratic primary on June 2 for his previous Council seat. Furthermore, Evans filed paperwork with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance to participate in the city’s new Fair Elections program, which offers qualifying candidates public funds to boost their campaigns.
Evans officially resigned from his seat on the Council on Jan. 17, following a unanimous (12-0) council vote on Dec. 3 to recommend his expulsion for repeated ethics violations. This vote came after the release of a report that detailed 11 instances in which Evans used his office to benefit his private employers and clients. Evans had been under investigation since 2018.
Evans’ plans to join the race have invited criticism from D.C. politicians and councilmembers.
“I think he knows very clearly how I feel about getting on with the business of the District,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a Jan. 28 news briefing with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D). “We should all call on Jack to do not what’s best for Jack, but what’s best for the District of Columbia.”
However, Bowser acknowledged that voters will have the final say.
“At the end of the day, this may be a question for the voters of Ward 2,” Bowser said.
While Mendelson said he opposed Evans’ candidacy, he failed to specify whether he would pursue re-expulsion if Evans won. So far, Councilmembers Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), David Grosso (I-At Large), and Robert C. White, Jr. (D-At Large) have indicated they would push to reopen expulsion proceedings if Evans is reelected.
And in an unprecedented move, on Jan. 31, every member of the Council announced their opposition to Evans’ new campaign in a joint statement.
“All of us agreed to expel Jack Evans from the D.C. Council after an exhaustive investigation found numerous violations of our Code of Conduct. Mr. Evans resigned before we could formally vote to expel him last week,” the statement read. “His decision to run for Ward 2 Councilmember again, which we do not and cannot support, shows a willful and arrogant disregard for ethics and is not in the best interests of the District.”
Evans’ campaign has also been blasted by his challengers in the June Democratic primary, his first electoral opposition in more than a decade.
Candidates Jordan Grossman, a former staffer in the Obama administration, and Patrick Kennedy, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2A commissioner and vice chairperson, both issued press releases condemning Evans’ move.
“Jack Evans still doesn’t get it. As I’ve listened to Ward 2 voters for months at their doorsteps, Metro stations, nearly 40 meet and greets, and community events, one message has been resoundingly clear: shameless corruption is disqualifying for serving on the DC Council,” Grossman said.
“The Evans era is over. Councilmember Evans was stripped of his committees, forced to resign, is still under investigation, and left Ward 2 with no representation during budget season,” Kennedy said. “His constituents and council members don’t trust him and are embarrassed by his conduct. We’ve turned the page and Ward 2 needs a representative moving forward they can be proud of.”
Evans faces six challengers in the Democratic primary: Grossman, Kennedy, Microsoft employee Daniel Hernandez, ANC 2E Commissioner Kishan Putta, ANC 2F Commissioner John Fanning, and business development executive Yilin Zhang.
If he wins the primary, Evans would face Republican candidate Katherine Venice, CEO of The Ethical Capitalism Group, in the special election.
The winner of the June 16 special election will finish out the rest of Evans’ term, which ends in January 2021.