District of Columbia Council member Robert White Jr. (D) announced on Wednesday that he intends to launch a mayoral bid, setting up a possible showdown with incumbent Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserBowser declares October 2021 'LGBTQ History Month' in DC DC Council member plans to challenge Bowser for mayor Lobbying world MORE (D).
White told The Washington Post in an interview that he would like to focus on issues such as affordable housing and gun violence in the city.
“Our population is dwindling. Black and Brown kids are struggling in our schools. Parents of young kids are leaving this city in droves,” White, who has served as an at-large member on the D.C. Council since 2016, told the publication. “Being on the council made me realize that making transformative shifts in this city requires a transformative mayor.”
Bowser has not said publicly whether she will run for a third term but is widely expected to. A match-up between Bowser and White would reflect the broader divide within the Democratic Party between moderates and liberals. Bowser has been seen as more of a moderate, while White is seen as a representative of the party's more liberal flank.
White and Bowser have disagreed on some issues, including decreasing D.C. police funding and raising taxes on the wealthy.
Bowser, who has served as mayor since 2015, did not face a major opponent during her last reelection bid, in 2018.
White told the Post at the time that "a number of people are not happy with government services."
“A smart politician would not conflate the lack of an opponent with widespread satisfaction," he said.
The District's mayoral election is slated for 2022.