D.C. mayoral candidates must turn in petitions by Thursday

WASHINGTON (AP) - Candidates for mayor of the District of Columbia are facing a key deadline.

Thursday is the last day that candidates can turn in petitions to get their names on the ballot. For the April 1 Democratic primary, candidates must collect 2,000 signatures from registered Democrats.

Mayor Vincent Gray is seeking a second term. The large field of challengers includes D.C. councilmembers Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent Orange and Tommy Wells, former State Department official Reta Lewis and restaurateur Andy Shallal. Some candidates, including Gray, have already turned in petitions.

The Democratic primary winner has won every mayoral election in the history of district self-rule. This year's winning Democratic candidate could face a general-election challenge from Councilmember David Catania, an independent.