D.C. Council member Jack Evans yesterday announced he has decided not to run for council chairman next year, citing the challenges of being a single parent.
“Since my wife, Noel, passed away two years ago, I have spent increasing amounts of time raising my three children as a single parent,” the Ward 2 Democrat told The Washington Times.
“During the past several months, it has become clear to me that my time and efforts need to be focused on my family, and I believe it would not be in their best interest to run a citywide campaign at this time,” the father of three said.
Mr. Evans, 52, said he will continue representing Ward 2 and heading the council’s finance committee.
His decision leaves council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat, as the only declared candidate seeking to succeed Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat who is running for mayor next year.
However, council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat who previously has flirted with at-large and mayoral candidacies, is considered a potential chairman contender.
In addition, council newcomer Vincent C. Gray, Ward 7 Democrat, also is seen as a likely challenger for the chairmanship.
Messrs. Evans, Graham and Gray are not up for re-election next year. Mrs. Patterson is vacating her Ward 3 seat to run for chairman.
Mr. Evans’ wife died of breast cancer in September 2003.
Sean Metcalf, Mr. Evans’ spokesman, said the council member has sought to eat dinner each night with his 9-year-old triplets — Christine, Katherine and John — since their mother’s death.
Running for council chairman would make the nightly family meals difficult, he said.
“They have a schedule that rivals their father’s,” Mr. Metcalf said. “They are very active, and he likes to make as many events as he can.”
Mr. Evans has decided not to seek the at-large seat as city regulators are looking into an October report by The Washington Post saying that since 1994 he has controlled a political action committee that he has used to make political donations and reimburse himself thousands of dollars for travel and entertainment.
Regulators are concerned that the spending could violate campaign finance rules dictating that PAC money should be spent only on candidates, their issues and parties.
Mr. Evans, who is the council’s chairman pro tempore, has denied any wrongdoing.
A lawyer, Mr. Evans specializes in public policy and municipal affairs for the powerful Patton Boggs law firm.