Former D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz announced Monday she will run for mayor as an independent — an unlikely bid after five years out of office that has another candidate suggesting the move is a ploy to play spoiler.
Ms. Schwartz, a Republican who served on the D.C. Council from 1985-1989 and from 1997-2008, outlined her reasons for running in a two-page statement Monday, noting also that she had switched her party affiliation to “independent” last year.
“My love for D.C. is a good part of why I’m running, as well as my great sense of responsibility about its welfare,” Ms. Schwartz said. “We have a boom town and that’s great but we also have to take care of the people who have not gotten the benefits of the boom town.”
Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, floated the possibility of a run and began raising cash in December. Council member Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 Democrat, won the party’s primary in April after a lengthy campaign.
Though Ms. Schwartz just entered the race, her effect on the contest can’t be dismissed. In each of her campaigns, she collected at least 30 percent of the vote in a city where 75 percent of residents are registered Democrats.
Mr. Catania, also a former Republican, is already facing an uphill battle to lure Democratic voters away from Ms. Bowser. Ms. Schwartz’s entry into the race stands to make that effort even more difficult for Mr. Catania, whose campaign suggested the bid might be a ploy on behalf of the Democrat.
Ms. Bowser’s campaign did not return calls seeking comment.
In the 2008 primary election that cost Ms. Schwartz her at-large seat, Mr. Catania backed her rival, Patrick Mara. After she lost the nomination, Ms. Schwartz mounted an unsuccessful write-in campaign, in which she received endorsements from a handful of council members — including Ms. Bowser.
Ms. Schwartz did not talk specifically about her opponents’ campaigns.
Ms. Schwartz said that at least initially she will be funding her campaign through her own savings until she’s able to start raising money.
“I hope there will be enough money to enable me to get the message out,” she said.