In a race fraught with delays in the vote count, City Council Chairman Vincent Gray prevailed over incumbent Adrian Fenty in the 2010 Democratic Primary Elections, Sept. 14.

With 90 percent of the precincts accounted for by early Wednesday morning, Gray held a tight lead with 59,285 votes –or 53 percent of voters’ support. Having tossed his hat late into the race last March, Gray learned of his win in the last Democratic primary of the 2010 season around 1:40 a.m. as some 2,000 supporters heartily cheered him on at the Washington Court Hotel, with chants of “Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye” directed at Fenty.

“Let me first begin by saying thank you, District of Columbia,” an energetic-looking Gray said after taking the podium. “The people of the District sent a message, loud and clear that they want to bring character, integrity and leadership back to the mayor’s office, and that it’s time we come together as one city.”

Even as results began trickling in from Wards 2 and 3 around 11 p.m., they solidly cast Gray in the lead.

A recent city poll indicated that while 56 percent of Washingtonians approved of the direction in which the city was going, they were bothered by Fenty’s public persona. Even with his political career at stake, for the most part Fenty had appeared to not only have distanced himself from the Black community –which overwhelmingly voted him to the mayor’s post in 2006 – but had alienated government officials and community leaders as well. He also apparently did not take heed until too late that some of his key constituencies were losing faith in him.

Cora Masters Barry, former wife of Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry, was among residents who pledged support to Gray.

“I think he will be fair and with his fairness, intelligence and compassion he can do the job of mayor in a way that people will feel good about, even if they don’t agree with him,” Barry told the AFRO as she sat among friends at the hotel awaiting election returns.

Matissa Williams added that she voted for Gray after realizing he would be the candidate who’d make the needs of the city a priority. “He’s a true Washingtonian who has D.C.’s best interests at heart and I truly believe he will be inclusive of residents when making decisions that impact them,” Williams said.

Pierre Moye said he was excited about Gray taking over the helm.

“It’s an opportunity to bring integrity and the challenge of leadership that we need to move the city forward,” Moye said. “It’s an exciting time we’re going through a lot changes and I think this could be an opportunity for D.C. to start taking its position in a leadership role — because after all, is the nation’s capital.”

Glitches in the Board of Elections and Ethics’ new voting system were blamed for the delayed tallies, with elections officials reporting two hours after the polls officially closed that they were taking things slow. In some precincts reports stated that there were still long lines of voters at the 8 p.m. poll closing time. ?

Other winners in the City Council races are At-large Councilman Kwame Brown, who won the chairman’s post with 55 percent of the vote against Vincent Orange; and incumbents Jim Graham and Harry Thomas Jr., who represent Wards 1 and 5, respectively.

Also returning to the 13-member Council are At-large Councilman Phil Mendelson, having garnered 65,409 votes, and Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells, who racked up 10,467 nods of approval over 3,447 cast for Kelvin Robinson. In Ward 3, Mary Cheh also resumes her duties.