- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Former Mayor Marion Barry will challenge D.C. Council member Sandy Allen for the Democratic nomination for her seat in September, Miss Allen said yesterday.

“He said, ‘I am going to run,’” said Miss Allen, Ward 8 Democrat, recalling a lunch meeting with Mr. Barry last week.

Mr. Barry acknowledged having lunch Thursday with Miss Allen to discuss D.C. politics, but denied a report stating he called her to say he would run for the council seat.

“I absolutely did not,” he said.

However, Mr. Barry told The Washington Times yesterday he would make known his intentions this morning during an interview on WOL-AM (1450).

“I will be on Joe Madison to discuss the problems and concerns of the people in Ward 8,” Mr. Barry said.

Mr. Barry, 68, said he would also discuss “what he may or may not do.”

Mr. Barry served four terms as mayor and three on the D.C. Council. His last foray in D.C. politics was a 2002, when he ran for an at-large council seat.

Mr. Barry quit the race after U.S. Park Police reported finding traces of marijuana and cocaine in his illegally parked Jaguar. No charges were filed, and Mr. Barry has disputed the account.

His withdrawal came days after his fourth wife, Cora Masters Barry, confirmed reports she had left him. She had been his biggest ally, standing by him through four prostate cancer surgeries and as rivals claimed he had driven the District into bankruptcy, which caused Congress to strip him of most of his mayoral power, putting the city under control of the D.C financial control board.

Mr. Barry began his political career in 1971 when he was elected to the city school board. He was first elected to the council in 1974 as an at-large member.

His political career temporarily ended in 1990 when he was convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge. He returned to D.C. politics by serving two years on the council representing Ward 8 and was re-elected for a fourth term as mayor in 1994. He did not run for re-election.

The 1990 conviction was the result of an FBI sting that caught him smoking crack cocaine on videotape with his girlfriend, Rashida Moore, which led to six months in prison.

Though some political analysts say Mr. Barry is still a viable contender for the Ward 8 seat, at least one says he should not run.

“I don’t think it is a good idea,” said Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations. “The best thing for him to do is to concentrate on his health, family and personal well-being. Too much stress comes with the demands of public life. It will not serve him or the city well to go back to the future.”

Miss Allen said yesterday she was “not surprised” that Mr. Barry would seek another election, given his resilience.

“He said that [running again] was nothing against me,” she said. “He said he not did like the way government was being run.”

Miss Allen also said she is not intimidated by the challenge.

“I am running for the seat,” she said. “I’m not running against” an individual.

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