‘Real political power’: Jack Evans recall effort gains strength

Regardless of steps the D.C. Council takes to investigate and possibly punish Council member Jack Evans, activist and constituent Adam Eidinger said he believes the petition clipboard in his hands has more strength.

“This is real political power,” Eidinger said. “This is how you remove a council member from office.”

Eidinger, who was instrumental in legalizing marijuana in D.C. in 2015 and has been active in protests since the early 1990s as a student at American University, launched an Evans recall effort in April.

“We have to collect 5,500 valid signatures — 10% of the Ward 2 registered voters. And we’ve already collected over 3,100,” said Eidinger, 46, standing in front of the Wilson Building after Evans and other council colleagues entered.

adam eidinger recall jack evans
Activist Adam Eidinger (right) said he is halfway to collecting enough signatures to prompt a recall election for Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

Claiming 50 volunteer signature collectors, Eidinger said that if his group, The Committee to Hold Jack Evans Accountable, gathers enough names, voters in Ward 2 will have the chance to decide whether Evans should remain on the council.

“It’s called a recall election, which only has Jack Evans on the ballot — no one else. And the question is, should he be removed from office or not? If the voters vote yes, he’ll be removed from office,” Eidinger said.

He added that there have been recall efforts in the past, including a campaign he worked on while Mayor Anthony Williams was in office, but none that gathered enough signatures to get the question on a ballot.

“They usually resign before the recall gets on the ballot,” Eidinger said, whose political activism has led to dozens of misdemeanor arrests in the District.

Though he initially called the current council’s efforts to hold Evans accountable “well-intentioned,” Eidinger soon questioned the lawmakers’ backbone, since Evans is still able to cast votes on important issues.

“Chairman (Phil) Mendelson and the mayor (Muriel Bowser) want him as a voting council member,” Eidinger said. “They need him, so they’re going to talk about investigating him until his term is over.”

Eidinger said he would consider hiring signature collectors if his group is able to raise enough money. If the requisite number of signatures is reached, the special election would be held within a few months.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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