Feb 16, 2022 - News

Scoop: Two new candidates to enter D.C.'s Ward 3 Council race

A photo of a Tenleytown D.C. mural in the foreground

Ward 3 stretches from quiet Foxhall Village to transit corridors such as Tenleytown. Photo: Craig Hudson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two new candidates, a neighborhood leader and a senior counsel to former mayor and council member Vincent Gray, tell Axios they will jump into D.C.'s fast-growing Ward 3 Council race.

  • Ben Bergmann, an attorney and the chair of the advisory neighborhood commission covering Palisades and Spring Valley, said he filed papers on Wednesday.
  • Eric Goulet, a longtime top Gray aide, said he will officially enter the race on Feb. 28.

Why it matters: Six candidates are now vying for the seat held by council member Mary Cheh after she announced that she would not run for a fifth term.

  • The affluent ward hasn't had such a competitive race for the council seat since 2006 when Kathy Patterson sought higher office and Cheh won in a 9-person field.
  • Education is set to take center stage in the June Democratic primary contest. It is home to some of the most sought-after public schools in the city. Other top issues include housing in a ward with few new affordable units.

The latest: Goulet unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2006, then worked in D.C. Council offices until Gray tapped him to lead his budget office in 2011. He is a resident of Palisades.

Bergmann lives in Cathedral Heights, and in 2020 won a seat on advisory neighborhood commission 3D.

  • He said he is a former elementary school teacher and parent of a D.C. Public Schools child.

State of play: Matt Frumin, Cheh's former treasurer and a public schools advocate, announced his run last week.

  • Tricia Duncan, the president of the Palisades Community Association, followed soon after and began collecting signatures.
  • Two other candidates were already in the running before the rest. Deirdre Brown, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner in the Forest Hills neighborhood, filed in February. Monika Nemeth, a Forest Hills neighborhood commissioner, began campaigning last year.

Of note: One candidate who declined to run is Tracy Hadden Loh, a Brookings Institution fellow on urban studies and a member of the Metro board.

  • "I very much appreciate everyone who has reached out to encourage me to run," she tweeted Wednesday morning. "It's not the right time since I am focused on representing the District on the #WMATA board during this difficult time of transformation."
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