Mar 30, 2022 - Politics

Town Talker: No comeback for Jack Evans

Illustration of the Lincoln Memorial with his hand up to his ear, listening to gossip.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Democratic insiders have wondered for months whether Jack Evans would run again — for an unpaid Democratic Party gig known more for its cachet than its actual influence.

What we’re hearing: After behind-the-scenes talks, Evans is not running for re-election as a Democratic national committeeman. And many Dems are relieved.

Flashback: In 2020, Evans fell from grace after 29 years as Ward 2 council member, resigning his seat over ethics violations and a federal investigation. He was never charged.

  • But even after he quit the council, the national committeeman gig afforded Evans a plum spot in the Democrats’ 2020 convention in Milwaukee as a superdelegate.

Details: Kevin Chavous, the son of a former council member, says he met with Evans in early December to declare his interest in running. “My sense was that a lot of people did not want him to run,” Chavous tells me.

  • “I told him people were coming to me, out of the woodwork, so to speak,” Chavous, 37, recalls telling Evans over coffee at Boulangerie Christophe in Georgetown.

One of Chavous’ boosters is John Capozzi, a veteran Dem from Ward 7.

  • “I’m not going to take credit, but I will say, I had lunch with [Evans] and told him under no uncertain terms that I wasn’t going to let it happen,” Capozzi says.

Evans declined to comment. Chavous is running unopposed.

  • In addition to entering politics, the younger Chavous, currently an aide to council member Anita Bonds, also followed his father’s footsteps onto Fox News, where both have appeared as liberal pundits.

“I have experience dealing with the most extreme of GOP rhetoric,” Chavous says, adding he wants to increase the local party’s visibility.

🥊 Also this week: A candidate for attorney general, former Perkins Coie law firm partner Bruce Spiva, wants to throw out top rival Kenyan McDuffie from the race, claiming the Ward 5 council member is ineligible for the position.

The intrigue: Spiva laid out his case yesterday to the Board of Elections in a 37-page challenge.

  • It targets a D.C. statute that requires contenders be “actively engaged” as “an attorney in the practice of law in the District of Columbia” or be an attorney employed here by the city or federal governments — “for at least 5 of the 10 years immediately preceding the assumption of the position of Attorney General.”
  • That mouthful of legalese may be vague enough to doom Spiva’s challenge, legal experts told the Washington Post.
  • The D.C. Bar lists McDuffie as an “active attorney” in “good standing.”

Between the lines: Insider chatter about the statute has floated for months.

  • “Councilmember McDuffie, while a dedicated public servant, does not meet those requirements,” Spiva says.

The other side: McDuffie’s campaign manager, Chuck Thies, fired back on Twitter: “Initials of candidate who filed this malarkey: BS. I’ll leave it at that.”

  • The campaign then added the challenge was akin to the baseless conspiracies about former President Barack Obama's birth certificate.

What’s next: The elections board may hold a hearing within 20 days before issuing a ruling.

💬 Town Talker is a weekly column on local politics. Are you getting lunch with local bigwigs? Send me tips: [email protected]


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