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Inside Report (3)

Republican optimism is so high in Washington that the party even has its eyes on the mayor's chair there. Art Fletcher, top black adviser to Vice-President Bush and a former Nixon sub- Cabinet appointee, launched his 1982 campaign for the post with a Reagan inaugural bash.

Incumbent Mayor Marion Barry, a Democrat and former political radical, has not won high marks for his performance in the mainly black district.

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But observers say that city voters, who gave Jimmy Carter more than 90 percent election support last November, will have to be convinced that Fletcher can deliver for them on the basis of his administration connections.m