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Kelvin Robinson to run at-large for D.C. council

Kelvin J. Robinson confirmed to DC Wire this morning that he's entering the race for the Democratic nomination for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Robinson will face off against incumbent Phil Mendelson (D) and Clark E. Ray, the former director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Robinson, an ANC commissioner from Ward 6, had initially thought about challenging Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). But Robinson, who was chief of staff to former Mayor Anthony Williams, said he decided his skill set was better suited citywide.

"What happens in Ward 6 is a microcosm of what I believe is happening across the city," Robinson said. "Residents feel disconnected from the city government and don't like the rancor."

Robinson said he won't make his campaign about Mendelson, who is seeking a fourth term. Instead, Robinson said he will focus on education, juvenile crime, neighborhood revitalization and job creation.

During his work for Williams, Robinson takes credit for "ensuring city services were responsive" to residents and "initiating efforts to reduce crime and vacant properties," according to his biography.

In a three-way race with Mendelson and Ray, Robinson would be the only African-American candidate. But Robinson said he does not expect his race to be an issue in the campaign, even though 54 percent of city residents are black.

"I think what gives me the advantage is the ideas I have and that is what I am going to be touting," Robinson said. "If folks vote for me for other reasons, then great, but I believe folks will vote for me because I have the right ideas at the right time."

After last year's council vote to legalize same-sex marriage, there could also be room in the primary for the at-large seat for a candidate who opposed that decision. Both Mendelson, who helped push the bill through the council, and Ray, who is openly gay, are strong supporters of the same-sex marriage law.

But Robinson said he will not be campaigning against the same-sex marriage bill, even though he's not sure if he would have supported it at the time.

"I would have probably done a different approach, but it's the law of the land and I have no quarrel with it,' Robinson said.

--Tim Craig

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By Tim Craig  |  April 14, 2010; 2:19 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Tim Craig  
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I will continue to support the candidate that tried his best to convince the council that this mayoral takeover was wrong, that Peter Nickles was a joke and that making employees at will would be total chaos. Mendelson has my support.

Posted by: candycane1 | April 14, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Co-signing candycane!

Posted by: thelildiva4u | April 14, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I triple that!

Posted by: missboo | April 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Kelvin Robinson is the Vice Chairman of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington who was one of a few who decided changing its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of its workers. This has long-term implications of those who are less fortunate.

Why would anyone support this man?

Kelvin is akin to Carlos Allen (the 3rd White House party crasher) *and* who registered to run for Mayor. Both Kelvin and Carlos are the types that need the attention I suppose.

Posted by: chinaindc | April 14, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

There is no way I will support Mendelson because of his stance on adult and juvenile crime. We need a leader, not a social worker on the council. I'm sick of DC giving criminals more rights than victims.

If you want to be soft on crime, you'll vote for Mendelson.

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | April 14, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Robinson should have run against Tommy Wells. Robinson could have beaten Wells but Mendelson will crush Kelvin.

BTW, I write this as someone is who recognizes that Mendelson has weaknesses as a Coucilmemebr. Mendo is very weak on criminal justice; he supports the revolving door policy of releasing violent criminals back onto the streets to re-offend.

But the fact is that Mendo has a strong base of supporters in Ward 3, where crime is low.

Tommy Wells, whom Kelvin could have beaten, lucked out.

Dumb decision, Kelvin.

Posted by: ObjectiveReader1 | April 14, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I think Kelvin will make an exceptional councilmember bringing a viewpoint not seen or heard on the council. He has executive leadership and after some of the policies especially the parking issue--I want someone on the council who understands how things work.

And more importantly get people back to work. I will take a look at him although I have no issues with Phil.

Posted by: 411Tibby | April 14, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with ObjectiveReader1. Kelvin stood a better chance against Thomas Wells.

Kelvin's executive leadership got him fired from the Williams Administration because he asked everyone to 'get out their checkbooks' when he was hatched. Not what I consider executive leadership. And what of his executive leadership at decision @ Catholic Charities to deny health care to same-sex partners?

I'm looking at Clark Ray as having the best chance of beating out Mendo in this campaign.

Posted by: chinaindc | April 14, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Mendelson will win in a walk. Wells gets an undeserved pass. Kalvin will return to Chair ANC 6A for a couple more months before he retires from elective DC politics.

So much for change in DC politics.

Posted by: NewEra | April 14, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with DCJustice. The juvenile crime, lax oversight, and release of repeat offenders is ridiculous. If you commit adult crimes, be treated like an adult.

Posted by: dcguy20001 | April 15, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

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