DC appeals court denies McDuffie a rehearing to get back on AG ballot

D.C. Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s fight to stay on the ballot in the race for attorney general may be over after a judgment handed down by the D.C. Court of Appeals.

McDuffie’s petition for a hearing before the D.C. Court of Appeals was denied Saturday. With this latest judgment, he may be out of options and time.

The Ward 5 councilmember asked for the hearing after a three-judge panel of the court agreed with the Board of Elections that he did not meet the minimum requirements to run in the June 21 Democratic primary.

Although McDuffie is a lawyer, D.C. law requires candidates for attorney general to be “actively engaged” as a lawyer within the District for at least five of the last 10 years.



McDuffie’s camp has said he fulfills the requirement during his time on the legislative branch because he was an attorney employed by D.C. and is “actively engaged” in legal work in his capacity as councilmember.

Of the eight judges eligible to vote on McDuffie’s request for a hearing, three were in favor of granting it. A fourth had also leaned toward McDuffie’s position, but concluded there wasn’t enough time for another hearing before the primary in June.

The challenge to McDuffie’s candidacy was brought by Bruce Spiva, who’s also vying for the attorney general position. Spiva said he was not surprised but “gratified” that the court shared his reading of the statute.

“Councilmember McDuffie, although a dedicated public servant, simply didn’t meet the minimum eligibility requirements to run or be the D.C. attorney general,” Spiva told WTOP.

WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this story.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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