District of Columbia

Councilmember who sponsored DC gay marriage bill considers mayoral run

David Catania Staff Reports

WASHINGTON — D.C. Councilmember David Catania formed an exploratory committee for a mayoral bid Wednesday, saying he’s unimpressed by the large field of candidates and wants to find out if he can do more to improve public education from the city’s highest office.

David Catania

David Catania

Catania, an independent, is one of two openly gay council members, and is largely responsible for legalizing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia after the bill he sponsored was approved by the council in 2009.

A bid by Catania would set up an unusually competitive general election in the nation’s capital, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 11-to-1. The Democratic mayoral nominee has easily won every general election since District of Columbia self-rule began 40 years ago.

Incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray filed Monday to run for re-election, and Catania is one of four council members challenging him in the April 1 primary.

Catania, 45, took office as an at-large council member in 1997 and has been elected citywide five times.

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A former Republican, he became an independent in 2004 to protest the party’s stance on social issues, including then-president George W. Bush’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

“I’m somewhat uninspired by the people who are in the race,” Catania said. “I think that I have a demonstrated track record of hard work and producing solutions, and these skills I believe will serve us well as we tackle the biggest challenge that we confront, which is producing a world-class public education system.”

The exploratory committee allows Catania to start raising money. Former councilmember Sharon Ambrose, who is chairing the committee, said Catania would have no difficulty raising enough funds to compete.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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