Photo courtesy of the Washington Post.
Yesterday, Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post published an interview he held recently with the new mayoral candidate, Jack Evans. You should definitely read it, but here’s a snippet:
Mike Debonis: But how do you get across to someone in Ward 7 or Ward 8 that Jack Evans — someone who has lived in Georgetown for 20 years, drives his car back and forth to the Wilson Building every day — how can he relate to what is going on in my community?
Jack Evans: Again, people will know I have been all over this city for many many years in many different capacities. When I started out I was on the D.C. Democratic State Committee. When I was in Ward 7 the other day, James Speight was there, who was chairman of the Historic Preservation Review Board when I was an ANC commissioner. Gladys Mack, who was on the Metro board with me. I think it transcends this concern of, who is this guy? They already know who I am, what I can do and what I will do as mayor.
His legal name might be Jack Evans, but in many people’s eyes he’s Jack the Georgetowner. Mike was not terribly harsh on Jack in his question, but the same question is going to be asked a lot and a lot harsher over the next year until the primary.
And it’s a valid question, can a Georgetowner be mayor?
There’s obviously a lot of facets to that question. First, can a Georgetowner win in the first place? And if they win, can they govern effectively?
A lot of what will answer those questions will have to do with how good of a candidate Jack is and how many other candidates jump in, including the current mayor.
But Jack might be the only candidate whose chosen neighborhood could be a hindrance. If somebody chooses not to vote for Muriel Bowser or Tommy Wells, it’s highly unlikely that the fact Bowser’s from Ward 4 and Wells is from Capitol Hill will factor into the decision. GM’s not confident that can’t be said of Jack.
DC residents have a love-hate relationship with Georgetown. Many hate the neighborhood in the abstract, but love a lot of the components of the neighborhood that make it so great. For instance, the same people who make a sport of stating how much they dislike Georgetown will nonetheless admit how much they love Baked and Wired, or Blues Alley, or the Waterfront Park, or Jack’s Boathouse, or Dumbarton Oaks, etc.
The trick for Evans is to get on the right side of that dichotomy, or at the very least sidestep it entirely. Time will tell if he can.