News & Politics

Paul Zukerberg to Run for DC Attorney General, if He Can Make Election Happen

The pro-marijuana lawyer doesn’t want to let the DC Council delay the election until 2018.

Photograph courtesy of Paul Zukerberg.

Lawyer Paul Zukerberg became the first candidate in the race for the District’s first elected attorney general, announcing his filing with the DC Board of Elections this morning. Before he can campaign, however, Zukerberg will have to make sure next year’s election actually happens.

Zukerberg, a defense attorney whose campaign earlier this year for a DC Council seat was most noted for its aggressively pro-marijuana platform, is suing the District government over a decision to delay the attorney general election until 2018. In 2010, DC voters approved an amendment to the Home Rule Charter to change the attorney general position from an appointed one to an elected one, but the Council voted in July to delay the election, citing a lack of candidates and disagreement over an elected attorney general’s powers.

At the time he filed his suit, Zukerberg hedged about possible candidacy, but told Washingtonian that “I’m not absolutely ruling it out.” Zukerberg could well be running to help further his own legal case. In the city’s response to his lawsuit last week, Attorney General Irv Nathan argued that Zukerberg was not suffering any “meaningful hardship” from pushing back the election.

“For over a quarter century I have been fighting for equal justice under the law,” Zukerberg said in a press release. “In that time, I have seen a lot of injustice, but never did I believe that in America I would see our government cancel an election.”

Zukerberg has a hearing Thursday in US District Court to get the attorney general race back on next year’s ballot. If he wins an injunction, he could hit the campaign trail right from the courthouse steps.

See also: Attorney Paul Zukerberg Suing DC Council Over Timing of Attorney General Election

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.