It was a lack luster day in the District of Columbia as voters took to the polls in the April 3 Primary Election. The results – incumbents overwhelmingly held onto their seats.
It was a great night for Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) who ran unopposed. Evans has been in office 21 years while Norton successfully won her 10th term in Congress. Evans introduced the legislation to overturn a two-term limit on the mayor and council members.
“Our voters must be educated on how to use their vote in such a way that you force term limits on elected officials by not reelecting them to office over and over again, especially when they don’t work for the people they serve,” said the Rev. Douglas Moore, the first elected at-large member of the DC Council.
But in this election, it would be more of the same. In other Council races, Muriel Bowser (D- Ward 4) won with 65 percent of the vote; Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) was victorious with 42 percent and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) charismatically garnered 73 percent of the votes.
“I voted for Muriel Bowser because she was not marred in controversy not because she does anything for us,” said Hattie Pannell, an 80-year old senior activist in Ward 4. “Her focus seems to be on the new White folks moving to the area not Black people but I took another chance on her.”
Bernadette Tolson, campaign worker for Marion Barry said she was not surprised about the results. “Barry is the politician of politicians. One can talk about what they would like to do. But he has shown over the years what he will do and has done.”
The hottest contested Council race is the at–large seat currently held by Vincent Orange (D- At Large). It seemed to be smooth sailing for the incumbent until recent allegations of possible illegal activities in a special election held in 2011 surfaced to fill the position after Councilman Kwame Brown (D- At Large) became the chair of the Council.
Orange, several council members and the mayor are the subject of controversy currently under investigation by the attorney general. The controversy stems from unaccounted money orders from one of the biggest healthcare insurance contractors in the District. Jeffrey Thompson, CEO of Chartered Health, the largest Medicaid contractor in the District with an annual budget of $322 million from taxpayers, is linked to suspicious money orders given to council members and the mayor to support their campaign bids in the 2008 election. Thompson’s offices and home were raided by FBI and IRS agents. Grand jury subpoenas were also issued to elected officials.
With only 543 votes between Orange and his closest competitor, Sekou Biddle, the fate will be decided on April 13 after absentee ballots, including those cast by inmates from DC Jail and CTF; provisional ballots for voters who have special circumstances and a small number of curbside ballots are counted.
DC Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown (D), who is white, also held onto to his seat with 59 percent of the vote. In his first bid for the seat in 2008, critics said he won the popular vote because voters believed they were casting ballots for Councilman Michael A. Brown.
“There’s nothing negative voters could say this time. He earned his position through hard work and a strong commitment to the people. Both Browns are staunch supporters of DC Statehood. Plus, we need someone to go across the country and infiltrate into unknown territories and educate others about our plight,” said Anise Jenkins, community activist.
Also 12 candidates are competing for the Ward 5 council seat relinquished by the incumbent after an FBI investigation uncovered wrongdoings by the representative.
The special election will be held on May 15.
Aside from the local races, President Barack Obama received 51,394 votes from DC Dems or 96 percent of the votes cast, compared to the winner of the Republican presidential primary, Mitt Romney with 3, 122 votes or 68 percent of the vote.