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Jack Evans Switches to Obama, Opens Own Campaign

Updated: 5:19 p.m.
Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) knows how to party every now and then---and to send a message or two.

He threw a big cookout today to kickoff his reelection bid and to give a shoutout to Sen. Barack Obama, who's been busy lately trying to lock up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Evans, who had been a supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, followed the march of superdelegates who have begun to close ranks around the junior senator from Illinois.

The council member took the stage with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray in the early afternoon to announce the endorsement.

Evans said he switched his support because Ward 2 overwhelmingly voted for Obama in the District primary in February. He said he is most concerned about having a Democratic White House.

"There is an enormous difference in having a Democrat in the White House and a Republican in the White House," Evans said to the cheers of about 300 people at on the basketball court of the Kennedy Recreation Center in the city's historic Shaw neighborhood.

The center, Evans said, is a symbol of the city's ups and downs. The center was dedicated in 1968 by Robert F. Kennedy on behalf of his brother, following the riots in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination. It was a boost for the area at that time, Evans said.

Then, "By the beginning of the '90s, nobody came here," he said.

Pointing to a new playground and a renovated Kennedy Center with surrounding development, Evans hailed a new era of revitalization.

The council member may have been sending a shoutout to Obama, but he was also sending a message to his challenger, lawyer Cary Silverman.

Evans made sure that he had both his political allies and his deep pockets on display.

He told the crowd he is running a campaign on "youth and energy."

"It's time for a change and the change is me," said the 17-year incumbent.

Fenty and Gray did their part, showering Evans with praise.

"If we're frank about it, for so long people would get elected and you would never see them again," Fenty said. "One person who has bucked that trend now for 17 years is Jack Evans."

Said Gray, "This is not going to be a campaign. This is the beginning of a reelection."

An earlier version incorrectly referred to Evans as a superdelegate.

Nikita Stewart

By Marcia Davis  |  May 17, 2008; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election , 2008 Presidential Race , D.C. Council  
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