- The Washington Times - Friday, May 30, 2003

Eric Holder, the Clinton administration’s deputy attorney general, is “strongly considering running for mayor of Washington,” and Mayor Williams is “widely expected not to run for a third term,” WRC-TV reported Thursday. Mr. Holder’s liberal leanings would certainly be discomfiting to us every now and again. Nonetheless, we encourage his interest in returning to public life. As for Mr. Williams’ future, we expect he aspires to a higher station as well — perhaps a congressional seat or White House appointment.

Mr. Holder, 52, was a judge and federal prosecutor before being tapped in 1997 for the No. 2 spot in the Justice Department and winning unanimous Senate confirmation. It was a tough tenure for Mr. Holder, whose loyalty to the Clinton administration led to allegations of corruption and cover-ups, as well as public outcries on many occasions. Remember Chinagate? The Commerce Department trade mission scandal? The Elian Gonzalez raid? In fact, it was the embarrassment of one of Bill Clinton’s final acts as president — the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich — that led Mr. Holder himself to say that his public life was over.

“I think he would make a great mayor. I think he would bring the kind of leadership this city needs,” former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile told Channel 4. “We should all welcome his interest,” D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said. Both Democrats know well that Mr. Holder probably has a good shot at winning a mayoral primary.

As for the current mayor, there is supporter interest in a Williams for Congress campaign — in 2004 or 2006 — which comes as no surprise, since voters drafted Tony Williams to make his first run in 1998. Also, some voters, including Democrats, have grown disenchanted with Mrs. Norton, who spends considerable energy stirring up interest in full congressional voting rights.

The early maneuvering of these senior public figures gives us reason to expect a high quality of campaigning in the coming District elections.

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