D.C. Council Member Kenyan McDuffie has suspended his campaign for attorney general of the District.
The move comes after last week’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the District’s Court of Appeals. They agreed with D.C.’s Board of Elections that McDuffie did not meet the minimum requirements to run in the June 21 Democratic primary.
D.C. law requires that attorney general candidates must be “actively engaged” as a lawyer for at least five of the past 10 years.
On Saturday, McDuffie was denied a hearing by the full court, as he tried to appeal that panel’s ruling.
“More than anything, I’m disappointed that those voters won’t have the opportunity to vote for the person of their choice,” he said Monday in Southeast D.C.
McDuffie, who represents Ward 5 on the council, has claimed that he meets the requirement because of his work as a council member.
The challenge to his candidacy was brought about by a rival candidate, Bruce Spiva. And during Monday’s announcement, McDuffie said he was not surprised by Spiva’s challenge “because it’s politics.”
People should choose who “the People’s Lawyer” should be, said McDuffie, and he reminded the crowd of his time as a civil rights attorney for the United States Department of Justice and as a prosecutor.
The D.C. Council “must act” on the law that is keeping him off the ballot, he said, arguing that eight council members had said that the Board of Elections “got it wrong” because the law was meant to be broadly construed.
“It is not unprecedented for the council to act retroactively to clarify a law to permit a candidate to be on the ballot,” he said.
McDuffie told supporters he has not decided what’s next.
“Despite the circumstances that we’re experiencing right now, I want you all to know, it’s only deepened my resolve to serve our city,” he said.
WTOP’s Kyle Cooper contributed to this report.