David Catania to form mayoral exploratory committee

Catania would become the 5th member of the D.C. Council to join the 2014 mayoral race. Photo: dbking/Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON (AP/WJLA) - The race for mayor in the District of Columbia is about to get even more crowded.

As first reported by the Washington Post, D.C. Councilmember David Catania will form an exploratory committee as a prelude for a possible mayoral run in 2014.

If Catania throws his hat into the ring, he'll become the 5th member of the Council to announce a challenge to incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray. Tommy Wells, Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans and Vincent Orange have all declared their candidacy.

Former councilmember Sharon Ambrose says he will file paperwork Wednesday. An exploratory committee allows him to start raising money.

Catania is an independent, which means he would face the Democratic primary winner in the general election. Mayor Vincent Gray is seeking re-election, and four councilmembers are running against him in the primary. Ambrose says Catania is "very likely" to run.

In addition to those council members, businessman Andy Shallal, the owner of Busboys & Poets, is also running for the city's top political office.

After months of speculation, Gray announced on Monday that he would seek re-election.

Catania, an at-large member of the Council, was first elected in 1997 and won re-election in each race since 1998.

Ambrose says Catania understands how an influx of young parents has changed the city and that education is the key issue in the election. Catania chairs the council's education committee and has pushed legislation aimed at reducing inequities for poor students.