News & Politics

Twelve Stories to Look Forward to in 2014

Here’s to a new year full of elections, indictments, and long-overdue transportation projects.

Between the government shutdown, the Navy Yard shooting, the sale of the Washington Post, the early phases of the DC mayoral election, and a new governor in Virginia, 2013 gave us plenty of big stories. But enough space has been given to reflections of the past year. With a new year dawning, there is plenty on the horizon. Here are 12 stories to look forward to in 2014:

Bob McDonnell gets indicted: This nearly happened in early December, when federal prosecutors were ready to charge Virginia’s outgoing governor and his wife, Maureen, with taking nearly $165,000 in gifts from the chief executive of a vitamin manufacturer. The charges were delayed to spare Virginia the messiness of having a governor dragged into court with just a few weeks left in his term, but they could re-appear once McDonnell leaves office on January 11.

Governor Macker: Speaking of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, best known for his prolific fundraising for the Clintons, is taking over in Richmond as a first-time office holder after winning a gubernatorial election in which most voters wished they could have voted for “none of the above.” At least he’s limited to one term.

DC’s mayoral election heats up: Ballot petitions are due on Thursday, at which point we’ll have a settled field for the April 1 Democratic primary. The lineup is predictable—Mayor Vince Gray; Council members Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, Tommy Wells, and Vincent Orange; Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal; and former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis. The sprint to the primary will depend on who can raise the most money, and whether Gray can weather four months of scrutiny about ethics and campaign finance. But this time, the Democratic primary might not be the whole thing; independent Council member David Catania is waiting it out for the general election. 

Ron Machen’s investigation continues: The US attorney for the District of Columbia has spent three years poking around Gray’s 2010 campaign, which was aided by a $653,000 “shadow campaign,” allegedly funded by former Medicaid contractor Jeffrey Thompson. “It’s not like we’ve been looking at this for three years and there’s no there there,” Machen said in November. “I mean, there’s there there and we’re trying to gather information.”

Maryland’s dull election: Apologies to the Old Line State, but its 2014 governor’s race is shaping up even to be even more inane than DC’s mayoral race. So far, it’s only been interesting when Democratic candidate Attorney General Doug Gansler gets caught doing something dumb, like showing up at a beach party full of drunken teenagers. At least the June 24 primary falls right in the middle of Beach Week.

Metro’s Silver Line finally starts operating: The long-awaited rail connection between the District and Tysons, with a future extension to Dulles, was supposed to start running in January. But technical glitches arose in the last phases of construction, and Metro needs at least 90 days to test the new line. Maybe it’ll be running by April.

Nationals try again: OK, so 2013’s squad didn’t come close to Davey Johnson’s “World Series or bust” prophecy, but with new manager Matt Williams, a bolstered pitching rotation, and Bryce Harper’s surgically repaired knee, the 2014 Nationals are the only local team still generating optimistic feelings. Now, if we could just get rid of that stupid William Howard Taft mascot…

More misery in Ashburn and Landover: Mike Shanahan is gone, but we’ll always have Dan Snyder. At some point soon, Snyder will find someone dumbbrave enough to take over as head coach, but that only fixes one problem. The team has no defense, the quarterback is still developing, and the team’s name is still widely considered to be a racial slur.

No shutdown: In a rare moment of clarity this month, Congress actually passed a budget deal to fund the government through 2015, thus sparing us another idiotic shutdown. Still, let’s not get too comfortable. It is Congress, after all.

Stadium wrangling: The DC government was supposed to have figured out by now how to acquire all the land eyed for the proposed DC United stadium in Southwest. But so far, it has only reached informal agreements with Akridge and Pepco, and is nowhere close with the investor Mark Ein and a salvage yard. With the DC Council not making its deadline to approve deals for the land, that 2016 opening date look a bit shaky.

FBI picks a new home: And it probably won’t be the District. Victor Hoskins the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, told the General Services Administration that the FBI’s space and security requirements most likely make any site within city limits ineligible to compete for the bureau’s new headquarters.

DC Streetcar finally starts operating: SomehowSome daySomewhere!

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.