Bowser1002

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D) handily defeated two independents to become the District’s seventh mayor and its first female leader since 1995.

Bowser has represented Ward 4 on the D.C. Council since 2007, defeated her colleague, D.C. Council member David Catania (I) and a former colleague Carol Schwartz, who posted 35 percent and seven percent, respectively in the Nov. 4 general election. Bowser, who got 53 percent of the vote, said, at her victory party, at the Howard Theater in Northwest that she will take the city in the right direction.

“I think Washington, D.C. has spoken,” Bowser said to the cheers of hundreds of supporters. “I would like to thank the residents of the District of Columbia and I am humbled to stand here as the next mayor of my hometown.”

Bowser, 42, won Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 while Catania carried Wards 2, 3, and 6. The city’s turnout for the general election was 32 percent, a much better improvement over the 27 percent in the April 1 party primaries.

Seventy-six percent of District residents are registered Democrats.

Tim Poland, who lives in the Northeast quadrant of the District, said that voting for Bowser was an easy decision for him.

“She is an African-American woman running for mayor,” Poland said. “She is a native Washingtonian and I admire the way she faced the criticism that she got and she weathered that storm.”

Chanel Kyler supported Bowser but said that Catania as mayor of the District made her uneasy.

“Muriel Bowser was the only choice for me,” she said. “I was not comfortable with David Catania. I could not relate to him.”

Voters also picked Karl Racine as the city’s first elected attorney general, with 37 percent of the vote. Racine, 52, was considered the political and legal establishment’s candidate in the race and received the endorsement of former President Bill Clinton and several former presidents of the D.C. Bar.

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) was re-elected to her position with 24 percent of the vote with 14 competitors for the two at-large positions. Bonds, 68, will be joined by former {Washington City Paper} and {Washington Post} journalist and D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute budget analyst Elissa Silverman, an independent, who came in second with 12 percent of the vote, far outdistancing her 13 rivals. In April 2013, Bonds was elected to the D.C. Council in a special election and, in a surprise to many political observers, Silverman came in second in that race.

D.C. Council members Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) cruised to re-election and they will be joined by new D.C. Council members Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6). D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who has represented the city in the U.S. Congress since 1991 and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) were re-elected with no trouble, also.

Initiative 71, which would legalize marijuana use and possession in the city, won overwhelmingly with 64 percent of the vote. While the initiative did pass, it will be up to a Republican House of Representatives and a Republican Senate to approve the measure.

The national Republican wave on Nov. 4 that translated into more Republican House seats and a new GOP Senate in January did not seem to trouble Norton.

“My job to protect the District of Columbia will be harder, perhaps a lot harder,” Norton said on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk with Bruce Depuyt Show Nov. 4. “I have been in the minority for most of my congressional career and I have managed to get things done. This is not the end of the world for the District of Columbia.”

Bowser had millions of dollars to spend on her mayoral bid and was the only candidate on the ballot that had two campaign headquarters, one in Ward 4 and the other in Ward 8. Bowser was publicly supported by all of her Democratic colleagues on the D.C. Council and she got the nod of President Obama. Former D.C. Mayors Anthony Williams, Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt endorsed her bid, too.

Bowser will be one of the few female mayors of a major city, joining such leaders as Annise Parker of Houston and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore.

Bowser will also preside over a city that is going through an economic boom with over 50 cranes dotting its skyline and a growing population of 1,100 people coming to the city. However, she will have to deal with an improving but still struggling public school system, a crisis in affordable housing and economic inequality in Wards 7 and 8.

Bowser said that she is up to the task.

“I’m ready to go to work,” she said. “Thank you Washington, D.C. and now let’s get to work.”