Barry Declares for Mayor Post to Halt Jackson
Mayor Marion Barry, in a challenge to the Rev. Jesse Jackson to abandon any plans to run for mayor, said through a spokeswoman Thursday that he is running for a fourth term and expects Jackson to campaign for him next year.
“He’s decided to run . . . he is running,” said Anita Bonds, a longtime aide who was authorized by Barry to speak for him. Barry had previously hinted that he would run, but Bonds’ comment was his first definitive public stand.
She said Barry will formally announce in the fall but wanted to remove public doubt about whether he will run.
Barry’s move was portrayed privately by aides as an effort to force Jackson out of contention. Jackson, who is moving his family and national political organization from Chicago to Washington this month, has said since April that he is considering running for mayor in 1990 but would do so only if Barry did not run.
Bonds’ statement was the most recent development in a political drama between Jackson and Barry, who have been personal and political allies in the past but now find themselves sparring over a political office that each would seek for different reasons.
Barry, after a number of personal and political crises, is trying to revive his damaged political career and hang on to an office he has held since 1979. Jackson, after two campaigns for President, chafes under criticism that he has never been elected to anything and has no government management experience--criticisms that could be eased by serving as mayor.
Jackson, in Detroit on Thursday for a speech to the NAACP, said he now had no intention of running for mayor but would campaign for District of Columbia statehood.
Jackson, who received the NAACP’s Springarn Medal, its most prestigious award, told reporters that “every other capital in the world” has voting representatives in its government but the district has no one in Congress.
“I have no plans to run for mayor,” he said. “I do plan to end the occupation of D.C. by the Congress.”