In a stunning move yesterday, an ad hoc committee consisting of all of Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans’ colleagues voted unanimously to recommend that Evans be expelled from the Council.
This was just a preliminary recommendation to move the expulsion forward. At least one more vote is needed to make the expulsion official. That is preliminarily scheduled for December 17th. There is a further possibility that a third and final vote would be needed, which would push the process into January. But the proverbial writing is on the wall. Unless Evans can peel away two of his colleagues (eleven votes are needed for the expulsion), he will no longer be councilmember by February.
Even some of the most antagonistic Evans critics were surprised at the fact all twelve of the other councilmembers voted against him. While a majority had already called for him to step down voluntarily–and a similar number was willing to strip him of his committee control–voting to expel him was considered a steep escalation, one that at least some members seemed unlikely to pursue. But as the councilmembers took turns expressing their support for the action, the reality set in: even firm allies of Evans like Anita Bonds no longer supported him. By the evening, even the Mayor (who would certainly miss Evans on the Council) expressed reserved support for the expulsion.
This would be the first councilmember expelled in the history of DC. But it is still in Evans’ hands for at least a couple weeks. If he simply resigns he will avoid the embarrassment of going down in history in this way. But according to some reports, he has not yet accepted this as the best path.
Whether Evans resigns or is expelled, Ward 2 will remain unrepresented for a couple months. But the Board of Elections would likely schedule a special election for Evans replacement in June. The winner would take the seat until the end of the current term in 2021. This election would coincide with the Democratic primary for the same seat for the 2020 general election. Ideally the same individual would win the special election as would win the primary so that we don’t have a musical chairs situation. But since the special election would be open to all voters, and the primary would still be just Democrats, the possibility of a split is not zero.
There will likely be some thrilled by the events of yesterday. But even though GM has been critical of many of Evans’ decisions over the years, he isn’t joining the celebrations. It’s genuinely sad to see a career–a career that probably should have ended a while ago–come to this sort of an end.