Why the Lights Went Out in Washington Today
Policy + Politics

Why the Lights Went Out in Washington Today

Today the lights went out in and around Washington, D.C. – and they’re still out in some areas.

An explosion at a power plant in Maryland on Tuesday left large portions of the District of Columbia and its Maryland suburbs without electricity in the early afternoon. The outage affected numerous federal buildings including, ironically, the Department of Energy.

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The area affected included the White House – but because the executive mansion has its own backup power supply, the interruption was felt for just a few seconds. The U.S. Capitol, similarly, was running on backup power. Others were not as lucky. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf conducted part of a press conference via flashlight, and the Justice Department reportedly went dark.

For Washingtonians without power but with charged-up smartphones, the event was immediately documented on social media. It proved to be an unexpected attention boost for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who nearly simultaneously with the outage announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in a speech in his home state.

Related: The Biggest Obstacle to Rand Paul’s 2016 Campaign

Part of Paul’s remarks included his promise to fight against the “Washington machine,” which led to uncountable tweets joking that the Kentuckian was somehow responsible for the city’s loss of power.

By 2 p.m., there were reports of power being restored in some areas.

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