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Robinson switches races, says he will challenge Wells for Ward 6 seat

Kelvin RobinsonKelvin Robinson, a Democrat who waged a short-lived campaign for an at-large council seat, has announced that he's dropping out of that race and will instead challenge Tommy Wells for the Ward 6 seat.

A press release from Robinson's campaign says he "made his decision after meeting with a number of community leaders and neighbors" who wanted him to "end his at-large bid to offer an alternative to Ward 6 residents."

"I understand that my focus and energies are needed more in my home Ward where the issues of juvenile crime, smart development, better schools and good paying jobs are of concern to Ward 6 residents," he said in a statement.

That Robinson would take aim at Wells comes as little surprise. The former chief of staff to Mayor Anthony A. Williams re-entered political life last year when he took a vacant advisory neighborhood commission seat; that was widely interpreted as a prelude to a council run.

What was a surprise was that Robinson opted to take on at-larger Phil Mendelson and challenger Clark Ray, hoping to take advantage of a split vote, rather than challenge Wells in his own back yard.

Wells is considered popular in the ward, especially among his Capitol Hill base. But his controversial bag tax proposal has stirred some grumbling across town. Robinson, who has called publicly for a popular vote on gay marriage, also might also see some daylight between his position and Wells' council vote to legalize same-sex unions without a plebiscite.

Robinson will have to restart his effort to collect signatures to get his name on the Sept. 14 primary ballot. But the bar has lowered: Democrats running citywide need 2,000 valid signatures on their ballot petitions, but Ward 6 Dems need fewer than 400. Petitions are due July 7.

The announcement comes on the same day that campaign finance reports are due. It's unclear whether Robinson can use donations he's already received for his ward race. The contribution limit for a ward race is $500, while at-large candidates are free to take up to $1,000 from each corporate or individual donor.

A Republican, Jim DeMartino, is also running for the Ward 6 seat.

2003 photo by Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 10, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  DCision 2010 , The District  
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Next: Campaign finance reports start rolling in


Looks like I found my reason to go campaign for Tommy Wells. Since Harry Jackson endorsed Robinson, there's a snowball's chance in hell that I'd vote for him.

Posted by: redgrifn | June 10, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

For all his swagger and pretentious arrogance it is really kind of pathetic and fitting that the only thing Robinson has on his radar screen is a run for a ward Council seat. From the way he conducted himself as COS to Mayor Williams I would have thought he would be Chairman of Google or President of the European Union by now.

Robinson was a complete and unmitigated disaster as COS to the Mayor. Ward 6 would never be so stupid as to give him credentials.

Posted by: SoCali | June 10, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This is the right decision for kelvin robinson and despite his larger ego, he has step down to to the correct level to challenge an incumbent (tommie wells) who's lack of oversight over DYRS is resulting in murders on a weekly basis involving escapees and or violent youth under DYRS supervision throughout the washington metropolitan area.

Posted by: bill121 | June 10, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

When Robinson was COS he got things done...

This is good for Ward 6... He is a doer and not talker. He doesn't like yes people, likes smart people around him and he is results oriented. He won't get along with you too well if you are not on top of your job. He is not an elitist. From the man on the street to the man in the Executive Suite he treats everybody the same. He is a family man, loves people, and is a damn hard worker.

He might be arrogant, but he gets it done and he's not a puppet on someone else's strings.

He will not agree with you just because you're friends. He will be an excellent representative for Ward 6.

Posted by: gordonbundy | June 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Come to Ward 8 you will fit right in near our church when you leve the perch of Ward 6.
What is my screen name? Yeah read it and beleive the bird's hit.

Posted by: FakeFatSEChurchby7DPo-Po | June 10, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

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