A Buzz-Free Primary?

A District of Columbia primary election will take place June 19. But there’s been precious little buzz about likely winners, hot issues, challenges to incumbents and so on.

In a world inundated on a daily basis with the foibles, outbursts and Twitter pronouncements of the president of the United States, it may be that even District residents are too distracted to pay much attention to an election still almost two months away.

What we do know is that Mayor Muriel Bowser, in spite of some recent not-so-minor scandals, is running with very little in the way of strong or viable opposition. This is good for the mayor but perhaps less so for the practice of competitive electoral politics, which sparks debate on issues our city needs to face.

There is almost no chance of a repeat of what happened during the last two such elections. In 2014, incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray, burdened by long-standing campaign-finance questions, was defeated by Bowser in the Democratic primary. Four years earlier, Gray had toppled the previous incumbent, Adrian Fenty, in a major political upheaval.

Consistency is the hallmark of this year’s contest. And a win for a mayoral candidate in the Democratic primary usually means victory in the November general election.

Another consistent factor is the city’s recent history of voter turnout, which in the last election had the dubious distinction of being shamefully low. Nevertheless, folks are running, hope in their hearts in spite of the odds. Here is a look at the mayoral and Council races.

Mayor Bowser does have opponents, the most viable or perhaps most active of which appears to be James Butler, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and community activist. Also running, according to Politics 1 and the District of Columbia Board of Elections, is real estate broker Ernest Johnson.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is up for reelection and facing competition from ex-think tank president and activist Ed Lazere.

Several Council members are up for reelection, as follows.

Ward One — Brianne Nadeau, opposed by Lori Parker, Kent Boese and Sheika Reid.

Ward Five — Kenyan McDuffie, opposed by Gayle Hall Carley, Nestor Djonkam, LaMonica Jeffrey and Bradley Thomas.

Ward 6 — Charles Allen, opposed by Lisa Hunter.

Ward 3 — Mary Cheh, unopposed.

At-Large — Anita Bonds, Elissa Silverman, Marcus Goodwin, Aaron Holmes and Jeremiah Lowery. The top two vote-getters will become the Democratic candidates for the open seats.

Last but not least: Longtime D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is being challenged by Kim Ford.


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