- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

D.C. Democrats are talking privately about whether City Administrator Robert C. Bobb will jump into the already crowded race for mayor.

Former Democratic Party Chairman A. Scott Bolden is among those who consider Mr. Bobb a likely candidate to replace Mayor Anthony A. Williams next year.

“There continues to be a fair amount of discussion about Robert Bobb being a possible candidate for mayor,” said Mr. Bolden, an at-large candidate for D.C. Council. “That would make the mayor’s race even more interesting and competitive than it is right now.”

Mr. Bobb, who has never held an elected office, has fueled the speculation by not ruling out such a run.

“I have no idea what the future will hold,” he said. “Right now, my commitment is for the next 15 months to help the Williams administration put in place the programs that [Mr. Williams] outlined in the legislative agenda and to make sure that the organization doesn’t screw up so badly that the next administration will have a lot of problems when it takes office.”

Mr. Williams, a Democrat, has declined to seek a third term.

If Mr. Bobb declares his candidacy, he would compete for the Democratic nomination with D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, Ward 4 council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 5 council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., lobbyist Michael Brown and former Verizon Chief Executive Officer Marie Johns.

Mr. Fenty said he would want to keep Mr. Bobb as city administrator if he is elected.

He was wary of dismissing the speculation about a run by Mr. Bobb, saying he is “taking all challengers seriously.”

Mr. Williams has said Mr. Bobb would have to resign his job to run for mayor.

No official move has been made to put Mr. Bobb’s name on the Democratic primary ballot.

Paul E. Savage, who recruited Mr. Williams for the mayor’s office, lauded Mr. Bobb’s work.

“I think he has been a very good city administrator,” said Mr. Savage, a former president of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association.

However, he has yet to draft Mr. Bobb and said that decision is too far away.

“I would think that you would have to turn the corner on that in ‘06 before you can think about that,” he said.

Mr. Bobb was hired as the District’s city administrator two years ago at an annual salary of $185,000. He worked the previous 5 years as city manager of Oakland, Calif., before being fired by Mayor Jerry Brown. Before working in Oakland, Mr. Bobb worked as Richmond city manager for 11 years. He has served as top administrator in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Santa Ana, Calif., and was a candidate to lead Detroit’s public schools in 2000.

This is not the first rumor connecting Mr. Bobb to political office.

The Washington Times reported in May that Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, a Democrat, said Mr. Bobb would be a sound successor.

Mr. Bobb, who served as Richmond’s city manager from 1986 to 1997, has said he looks forward to returning to Richmond someday.

Mr. Williams wants him here.

“I would like to provide incentives for someone like Robert Bobb to stay in the District,” he said.



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