- The Washington Times - Monday, January 5, 2015

Marion Christopher Barry, son of the late former D.C. mayor, announced Monday he is running for his father’s council seat.

It’s been widely speculated that Mr. Barry would run for the D.C. Council seat left vacant when Marion Barry died in November, and the younger Mr. Barry — who goes by the name Christopher — put the rumors to rest.

“It’s official I’m running for Ward 8 Council member. Ward 8 the legacy continues, I’m energized, let’s go!” Mr. Barry wrote in a message posted to Twitter along with a photo of himself at the D.C. Board of Elections.

While name recognition may boost the aspiring politician’s chances, Mr. Barry joins a crowded field of 23 candidates running for the Ward 8 seat.

The elder Barry had steadfastly held the seat, representing the poorest ward in the District, since 2005. He previously served four terms as mayor as well as an additional two terms on the D.C. Council, remaining a beloved politician in his home ward despite his notorious 1990 arrest for smoking crack cocaine.

The younger Mr. Barry, who owns a small construction business, has had his own run-ins with the law. In 2011, he pleaded guilty drug possession charges after an incident that summoned police officers to his apartment. Mr. Barry refused to open the door for officers, leaping from his apartment window. When police entered the apartment they found a half-ounce vial of liquid PCP and five sandwich bags of marijuana inside. Mr. Barry admitted that he was “self-medicating” with the drugs and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

SEE ALSO: Mourners remember the best in Marion Barry

In December, he pleaded guilty to charges that stemmed from driving on a revoked license and he is currently serving nine months probation for that charge.

“That’s definitely all behind me. Like most young people, I’ve gone through my phases and experimented in drugs. I paid a great price for that and I’ve learned from my mistakes,” the 34-year-old told The Associated Press on Monday. “I feel as though that experience has made me more qualified to help people who have gone through rough times in life.”

Although the younger Mr. Barry has never held public office, the question of whether he might seek to succeed his father has been around for some time. His father floated the idea in the years before his death that he might resign from his seat and then attempt to secure it for his only son.

In the weeks since his father’s funeral, Mr. Barry has shown increasing signs of interest in public life, hosting a Christmas toy giveaway normally presided over by his father.

And it was only Sunday night that Mr. Barry posted his first message on Twitter, announcing to just the few dozen followers he had amassed by Monday that he was running for office.

Mr. Barry’s entry into the race will test the alliance that his father formed with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who assumed office this month.

Barry stumped for Ms. Bowser in Ward 8 as she sought to build her constituency east of the river. However, the former Ward 8 coordinator for Ms. Bowser’s mayoral campaign, LaRuby May, is also seeking the post.

“I think it’s safe to assume that if Christopher Barry was to win the seat, he would have her full support,” said LaToya Foster, spokeswoman for Ms. Bowser and also the former spokeswoman for Barry.

Ms. Foster said she couldn’t say whether Ms. Bowser might also extend support to the younger Mr. Barry’s campaign.

Candidates running for the Ward 8 council seat have until Jan. 28 to collect 500 valid signatures in order to make it on the ballot for the special election to be held in April.

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