News & Politics

Bill Clinton Endorses Karl Racine for DC Attorney General

Racine also leads in most polls.

DC attorney general hopeful Karl Racine scored the better presidential endorsement.

Former President Bill Clinton is throwing his support behind Racine over four other candidates to become the District’s first elected attorney general, Racine’s campaign says. A few weeks ago, President Obama endorsed Muriel Bowser in the November 4 mayoral election.

Of the two Democratic leaders, Clinton is more popular, though both he and Obama swing a lot of weight in the heavily Democratic capital city.

“Karl will fight for the District’s middle class and working families,” says Clinton in a press release distributed by Racine’s campaign.

Obama endorsed Bowser because she’s locked in a competitive general election against independents David Catania and Carol Schwartz, and because she’s his party’s mayoral nominee. Clinton is tapping Racine thanks to his work as an associate White House counsel during Clinton’s second term, during which time Racine worked on Clinton’s impeachment proceedings in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Polls have shown Racine 10 percentage points or more ahead of four other candidates, including Edward “Smitty” Smith, Lorie Masters, Paul Zukerberg, and Lateefah Williams. But polls have also shown an even higher share of undecided voters in a race that has not garnered much interest from the electorate.

“This endorsement will demonstrate to undecided voters that Karl is the best choice for the office,” Racine’s strategist Sean Rankin tells Washingtonian.

Clinton has spent the past month touring the country to stump for Democratic candidates. He’s been on the road rallying Democrats in congressional and gubernatorial races.

Racine’s camp hopes Clinton will make an appearance in DC.

Along with the Washington Post‘s endorsement, Clinton’s support will strengthen the veteran attorney’s chances of prevailing in the field of five. Racine’s campaign is better funded than any of his rivals’, largely thanks to the $450,000 he’s lent himself.

Smith and Masters have criticized Racine for managing Venable, a powerful law firm, during a period when auditors showed that the firm over-billed the District and federal governments.

Clinton’s endorsement is aimed at blunting those charges. “Karl also has the integrity and ethics to be the District’s first attorney general,” he says.

Find Harry Jaffe on Twitter at @harryjaffe.