Mural on H Street. Image by the author.

This week, Maryland gubernatorial hopefuls pick their running mates, Virginia congressional candidates debate, and challengers to DC incumbents — or the lack thereof — are the major news in DC. Want to stay on top of our 2018 election coverage? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Where is Bowser's challenger? 
Why has Mayor Bowser, despite a series of “mini scandals” that have led to the resignation of her two top education officials over the past week, so far avoided a serious challenger? In short, some think that potential challengers with experience have too much baggage, and challengers without baggage have too little experience. (Cuneyt Dil / City Paper)

Norton gains a challenger
Kim Ford, a political newcomer who worked as an assistant secretary of education in the Obama administration and as dean at the University of the District of Columbia, has announced that she is running against incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton in the Democratic Party primary to become DC’s non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives. (James Wright / Afro)

Allen challenger draws controversy
Lisa Hunter is taking on Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen in the Democratic primary, beginning with a video criticizing him for hailing from the same Alabama town as his predecessor, Tommy Wells. But Hunter herself is from Malibu, California, and her video came under widespread criticism. Hunter says she was motivated to run because of No Parking signs that went up during construction for the Hine School project. (J.F. Meils / City Paper)

Dirt bikes on the ballot?
Eric Butler Jr. is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to legalize and regulate ATV and dirt bike use in DC. Butler, who also worked on the successful 2014 ballot initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in DC, argues that the current ban and negative views of these vehicles are racially-motivated. Opponents to ATV and dirt bike legalization argue that these vehicles are not meant to be operated in dense environments.  (Martin Austermuhle / WAMU)

Maryland Democrats choose their running mates
It was a busy week in Maryland as four Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls announced their running mates ahead of the February 27 filing deadline:

  • Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III selected Elizabeth Embry. Embry, who ran for mayor of Baltimore in 2016, is a prosecutor heading the criminal division in the office of Maryland’s attorney general. (Bruce DePuyt / Maryland Matters)
  • State Senator Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery) has tapped business executive Luwanda Jenkins. Jenkins has worked for the last three Democratic governors of Maryland and has held executive positions at the Baltimore Sun, Carefirst BlueCross Plan, and a real estate development company. She serves as COO for the LEADERship, a program of the Greater Baltimore Committee. (Ovetta Wiggins / Post)
  • Baltimore Lawyer Jim Shea picked Baltimore Councilman Brandon Scott. Scott, just 33, is considered a “rising star” in Baltimore. (William F. Zorzi / Maryland Matters)
  • Entrepreneur and onetime Hillary Clinton advisor Alec Ross has chosen Julie Verratti, who co-founded Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring with her brother-in-law, Jeff Ramirez, and her wife, Emily Bruno. While Verratti has not run for office before, she has been involved in social justice organizations and was a senior policy advisor for the US Small Business Administration. (Michael K. Lavers / Blade)
  • Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and former Michelle Obama aide Krishanti Vignarajah have yet to name their running mate choices. Ben Jealous was ahead of the pack and announced his pick, Democratic Party chair Susan Turnbull, back in November. (Erin Cox / Baltimore Sun)

Jealous reflects, and looks ahead
The former head of the NAACP discusses what he has accomplished in Maryland over his career, reflects on his decades of activism, and looks forward to a potential general election race against Governor Larry Hogan. Jealous, who has been endorsed by both Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders, also offers some policy specifics throughout. (Luke Mullins / Washingtonian)

Prince George’s County Council candidate accused of harassment
Calvin Hawkins, a candidate for an at-large seat in Prince George’s county council, has been accused of sexual harassment. Tonya Hairston, who worked with Hawkins and still works for the county, says that Hawkins restrained and forcibly kissed her in 2008. Hawkins says he disputes some of the details but does not dispute the overall charge. Hairston says that Hawkins has never apologized to her. (Rachel Chason / Post)

Democrats meet in Winchester
Democrats vying to unseat Congresswomen Barbara Comstock held a candidates’ forum in Winchester, where candidates discussed a wide range of issues. One of the candidates, Julia Biggins, called for light rail projects as a part of a “massive investment” that is needed in infrastructure in Virginia’s 10th. (Blue Virginia)

Del Pepper looks ahead to the next 33 years
In her 12th term on Alexandria City Council, Del Pepper hopes to continue to push for the redevelopment of Landmark Mall, oversee the completion of the Potomac Yard Metro station, help Alexandria keep up with population growth by identifying sites for and building new schools, and continue to champion environmental causes.  (Missy Schrott / Alexandria Times)

Old Town veteran enters Alexandria Council race
Matt Feely of Old Town announced his candidacy for Alexandria Council. Feely is a retired supply corps captain with the US Navy and has been an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia Business School since 2012. Feely is Democrat that plans to campaign on fixing the city’s budget deficit, improving risk management, funding Alexandria public schools, and improving the decision-making process around public infrastructure. (Alexandria Times)