Former D.C. City Councilmember Jack Evans is not one to let adversity get him down.
The veteran city politician filed papers to run for his old council seat yesterday, despite being forced to resign from that same position earlier this month over a corruption scandal involving Evans' use of his public positions to benefit clients of his private consulting business.
Those corruption allegations already prompted Evans to resign his position as chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) board of directors last June, shortly after an FBI raid on his Georgetown home.
In December, the city council voted to recommend expelling Evans. A second vote removing him from office was supposed to be held this month, but Evans resigned before he could suffer that humiliation.
But now Jack is back, baby.
Evans has filed to run as a candidate in the June special election that's being held to fill the Ward 2 council seat he was forced to vacate. He's also competing in the June Democratic primary for that same seat. Should he win both, Evans will serve out the remainder of his 2020 term and be the party's nominee in November.
His former council colleagues are less than keen on the prospects of seeing Evans around the water cooler again.
This is beyond arrogant. Mr. Evans is treating the ad hoc committee's unanimous expulsion vote as a minor inconvenience rather than the condemnation that it was and is.
His contempt for the people of DC and for the Council is on full display. https://t.co/qyQUGqfv8A
— Mary M. Cheh (@marycheh) January 28, 2020
This is a great story for reporters and a very bad story for the residents and businesses of Ward 2, as well as the entire city. I hope my colleagues have a unified voice speaking against this willful, selfish disregard for ethics and the public's trust. https://t.co/TV0Dwt0WgN
— Elissa Silverman (@tweetelissa) January 28, 2020
He hasn't even received his last paycheck from a job he had to quit to avoid being fired from. The District will spend $1 million on a special election to replace him - and he says he's running in it? This is unbelievable. DC deserves better than this. https://t.co/4tEGnHgcOG
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) January 27, 2020
Despite the headwinds caused by a federal corruption investigation and his rejection by the current city council, Evans has a chance to win his seat back.
Both the special election and primary he'll be competing in are crowded fields, featuring six other candidates. That means the "not under federal investigation" vote could be split among them, allowing Evans to skate in on name recognition and the political capital he's accumulated during his decades-long career in city politics.
The first Democratic primary debate for the Ward 2 seat included a discussion of whether any of the current contenders would drop out to avoid throwing the election to Evans, with some expressing a willingness to do so.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, perhaps hedging her bets against an Evans win, offered only muted pushback at his decision to run again, telling The Washington Post, "I won't be getting involved in the Ward 2 race, and it's not a political calculation that I would have made."
Evans resigned his chairmanship of the WMATA board of directors after an ethics investigation found he had abused his position by trying to help clients of his consulting business get WMATA contracts.
In one instance, Evans asked for the WMATA to investigate a parking services vendor who was competing with one of his clients for the transit agency's business. The Post also uncovered business proposals Evans had sent to law firms in which he pitched his public positions as an asset the firms could use to attract clients.
In the wake of these and other revelations of seemingly shady business practices, Evans quit his council post earlier this month.
His bid to reclaim his seat reflects either an astounding degree of narcissism, or perhaps an understanding on Evans' part that voters won't be prioritizing clean, competent government when they go to the polls in June.