Amid sweeping allegations of corruption and incompetence in city government, District Democrats on Tuesday weighed the political fates of five sitting members of the D.C. Council, with nearly all easily beating back challenges and one forced to wait for results deep into the night.
At-large Councilman Vincent Orange was locked in a tight back-and-forth with former D.C. Councilman Sekou Biddle. The two men, along with two other challengers, waged an increasingly negative campaign in recent weeks.
Biddle said late Tuesday night that he had anticipated a long night of vote tallying.
|Four ward representatives on the D.C. Council won the support of District Democrats for new terms.|
|Ward 2: Jack Evans|
|Ward 4: Muriel Bowser|
|Ward 7: Yvette Alexander|
|Ward 8: Marion Barry|
|For final results, visit dcboee.org.|
"It's a little stressful, but I think this is about what we expected going in," Biddle told The Washington Examiner.
The at-large race could trigger a recount. District law requires a recount if the top two contenders are within 1 percent of each other by the end of the counting. Running vote counts Tuesday night often were within that margin.
As of Wednesday morning, Biddle had garnered 38.7 percent of the Democratic vote while Orange had 39.7 percent. Those totals, however, don't include absentee ballots and early voting.
Continuing probes into corruption helped set up the tight at-large race after Orange acknowledged that he had accepted "suspicious" campaign contributions.
The evening was far less nerve-wracking for some of Orange's colleagues. Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander and Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry easily scored primary victories. In Ward 2, Councilman Jack Evans ran unopposed.SClBEach will be heavily favored in November's general election. About three in four District voters are registered Democrats.
In Ward 7, Alexander overcame four Democratic challengers to win the primary, even though some observers had questioned her political strength before the vote.
To the southwest in Ward 8, Barry declared victory over four other Democrats in his bid to win a third term representing the poorest ward in D.C. His nearest rival conceded by 10:30 p.m., and Barry will be unopposed in November.
In Ward 4, Bowser scored a clear victory over five challengers.
Tuesday's primary, the first time District residents have voted for presidential, congressional and city council candidates on the same day, was poised to record one of the lowest voter turnouts in decades, but a top election official said that was to be expected.
"We're not seeing anything that's surprising to us from what we see in a typical primary for a council year," elections board spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin said.
Delores Fields, a precinct captain in Ward 4, said she thought the city's early voting program reduced turnout on Election Day.
"People have done the early voting and the [absentee] ballots," she said. "There's just [been] a trickle of people coming in."
For final results, visit dcboee.org.