Tapping into voter discontent over a mayor still embroiled in an ongoing federal investigation over his 2010 campaign, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) handily won the Democratic primary for D.C. mayor Tuesday evening with 44.2 percent of the vote .
With 89 percent of voting precincts reporting, Bowser had 32,155 votes to Gray’s 23,933, or 32.9 percent, signaling a sound defeat of a mayor that has overseen a continuation of the District’s economic boom over the last four years, but could not shake the doubts concerning illegal campaign contributions to his 2010 campaign.
An exuberant Bowser was in Ward 8 at her campaign’s watch party, thanking her supporters and outlining her priorities and sounding confident heading into the next phase of the campaign.
“Let me say thank you to the people of the District of Columbia!” Bowser told a joyous crowd of supporters chanting her campaign slogan: “All Eight Wards!”
Bowser also took the opportunity to emphasize the need for a mayor free from ethical shortcomings, a thinly veiled swipe at Gray, whose term in office runs through Dec. 31 of this year.
“The mayor must break new ground and command the moral authority to lead,” Bowser said. “The outcome of this election is also an affirmation that the status quo is not good enough for us– we know we can do better, we know we need a new start.”
Addressing supporters at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Gray conceded the race to Bowser, saying that his focus will be on continuing the progress his administration has made in improving the District.
“Our job is to continue to make this a great city, to continue to see it grow, and continue to look back at our investment and say our city is one of the greatest in the nation and in the world,” Gray said.
Gray also took the opportunity to push for D.C. statehood.
“It is time for this city to be able to have the opportunity to become the 51st state in the Union,” Gray said.
Looking towards November, Bowser was confident in her chances for victory in the November general election, where she will likely face Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) (SFS ’90 LAW ’94).
“The residents of the District have always elected a Democrat as mayor,” Bowser told the crowd, “and we’re going to do it again in November! Now, let’s get to work!”
Other candidates vying for the primary win included Councilmembers Tommy Wells (D- Ward 5) and Jack Evans (D- Ward 2) who garnered 12.2 and 5 percent of votes respectively. They were followed by restauranteur Andy Shallal with 3.2 percent of votes and Councilmember Vincent Orange (D- At Large) with 1.9 percent.