Former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray won the Democratic primary to reclaim Ward 7 council seat. (AFRO File Photo)
Voters in the District of Columbia Democratic Party primary rejected three D.C. Council incumbents and returned a former mayor to the D.C. Council.
D.C. Council members Vincent Orange (D-At Large), Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) and LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) lost their bids for re-nomination on June 14. Former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray trounced Alexander, a former political ally, with 59 percent of the vote to her 33 percent.
Gray greeted reporters outside of his campaign victory party that was held at the Antioch Baptist Church. He said that Ward 7 voters wanted a change.
“I am so excited that the people of Ward 7 supported us so strongly,” he said. “I will be proud to represent them. There is so much to do in Ward 7.”
One of Gray’s supporters was Matilda Robinson, who voted at the Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church in Ward 7. Robinson voted for Gray “because he can make a change.”
“I think he can bring this community together,” Robinson said. “”We have problems in this ward such as one grocery store and we don’t have a hospital. We have all of these killings and shootings here and nothing is being done about it.”
Robinson said that she would see Gray in Ward 7 more when he was the mayor than Alexander. However, Alexander did have her supporters.
“I think she has done a great job for us,” Greene said. “She has grown into the job and she isn’t trying to enrich herself with the developers.”
Greene, who voted at the Dorothy I. Height Branch of the D.C. Public Library in Ward 7, said that Alexander has been working to bring the north and south sections of the ward together.
“She treats us equally,” she said.
Robert White Wins At-Large council seat over Vincent Orange.
In what many political observers saw as an upset, Orange fell to Robert White, 39 percent to 37 percent. Orange had aligned himself with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and had the support of labor unions and business groups.
However, in the majority and plurality White Wards 1,2,3 and 6, Robert White led substantially while Orange managed to win the predominantly Black Wards 5,7, and 8 while barely defeating Robert White in majority Black Ward 4.
Trayon White snags Ward 8 council seat from LuRuby May.
In the race for Ward 8, May could not overcome the personal popularity of former Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member Trayon White and lost to him, 50 percent to 42 percent. In April 2015, May was elected to the Ward 8 council seat by defeating Trayon White by 78 votes.
D.C. Council member Brandon Todd won the majority of the vote over contender Leon T. Andrews, 49 percent to 41 percent, in what many political experts consider a surprise given that Todd has the support of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and her political organization. Todd won the Ward 4 seat replacing Bowser in April 2015 by a wide margin, leading his closet rival in that contest by 20 points.
Former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton easily defeated U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, 77 percent to 19 percent. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) faced no opposition in the primary.
D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) visited the Gray victory party and was excited about Gray serving on the council again.
“When I came on to the council in 2007, Vince was the chairman and he was an excellent chairman,” Cheh said. “All I have to say to him is welcome back.”