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Mr. Evans, who has represented Ward 2 since his first council victory in 1991, ran (and lost) his lone mayoral race in 1998, and he told me at that time that the city wasn’t ready for a white mayor.

And while no one is chanting, “Run, Jack, Run,” Mr. Evans is itching for a citywide race, and an entry by this fiscal hawk would surely be welcomed by the time 2014 rolls around.

By any measure, Mr. Wells and Mr. Catania are big-government spenders - think Franklin “Giveaway” Roosevelt and popular former D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz, a Republican, all rolled up in one. (Better still, imagine well-coiffed John “Moneybags” Edwards and poor black residents in the backdrop.)

As for the lineup for the 2014 chairman’s seat, council member Muriel Bowser’s name has been surfacing for well over a year, ever since Sulaimon Brown sprayed dung on the top floor of city hall, where the mayor perches.

A protege of former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty who won her re-election primary in April, Ms. Bowser was chosen by her council colleagues to pull together the city’s massive but toothless ethics overhaul. She is neither an attack dog, nor lap dog, but she is, as an elderly grandmother might say, a good shepherd.

So, too, was Linda Cropp - a Ward 4 resident just like Mr. Fenty and Ms. Bowser - who lost her footing because of bad timing.

Successful candidates win by sizing up the electorate and keeping an eye on the clock, which proves Mr. McDuffie managed both effectively and efficiently.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at