Buzz Builds for D.C. Primary Elections June 21

Election year 2022 buzz is starting now with the D.C. Election Board preliminary announcement of candidates and voting places for the D.C. primaries to be held June 21. The general election will be Nov. 8.

While Ward 2 and Georgetown have no direct candidates as yet, but district-wide races where Georgetowners have a vote could have significant impact. There are already five challengers to incumbent Mayor Muriel Bowser —  running for her third term —   in a year where indoor-and-schools mask on-or-off policies as well as issues regarding D.C. police funding and re-organization, split Democratic voters who make up the vast majority of the D.C. electorate.

Ward 2 voters will be able to choose between several At-large Council candidates. In addition, while not on the Ward 2 ballot, the race for a new Ward 3 Council representative could impact Ward 2 significantly as Georgetown’s next-door neighbor with many overlapping issues. 

In a surprise, Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh announced last weekend her decision not to run. She was first elected in 2007. 

Cheh said in a statement to her constituents: “Many people have reevaluated their lives during the pandemic and that has been the case for me as well. I have to come to realize that I want to recover my personal life and dedicate more time to my granddaughter, who has been the light of my life since she was born on my re-election day three years ago. … It is time for someone else to pick up the mantle, and I am excited for the possibilities and future of Ward 3.”

Matt Frumin, Cheh’s former treasurer and a public schools advocate, and Tricia Duncan, a civic leader in Palisades, according to Axios, which added that two other candidates were already in the running before Cheh’s decision: “Deirdre Brown, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner in the Forest Hills neighborhood, filed in February to run. Monika Nemeth, a Forest Hills neighborhood commissioner, began campaigning last year.”

Challengers for Mayor Bowser’s seat include Democrats Malachi Aaron Black, James Butler, Michael Campbell Leland Andre Core Andre Davis, Robert White and Trayon “Washington DC” White. Republican party candidates for the seat are Stacia R. Hall and Lori Furstenberg.

Candidates so far for the Chairman of the District Council held by Phil Mendelson are Mendelson, Calvin Guirley and Erin Palmer.

There are nine Democratic candidates for At-large Council member to date, including the current member Anita Bonds. Robert White, a current at-large member, is also running for mayor. Giuseppe Niosi has registered as a Republican candidate.

To date, three Democrats have announced candidacy for Attorney General to replace retiring Karl Racine.

While Nov. 8 is a midterm election with no presidential election, nationally it is very significant this year because of the extremely narrow margins in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate elected in 2020. The Senate comprises 50-50 Democrats and Republicans. Democrats control the majority because Vice President Kamala Harris, who presides over the Senate, casts a tie-breaking vote as a Democrat. But one vote for either party changes that dynamic. Among the 435 Congressional representatives elected in 2020, there is only a five-seat margin of Democrats. Traditionally in a president’s first term, the Chief Executive’s party loses an average of eight to 10 seats in the midterm election. It is widely predicted that Republicans will win the majority of House seats on Nov. 8, and some predict the Senate will flip as well.

But the District of Columbia has no voice in those races since as a district and not a state, D.C. has no Congressional representation. The movement for statehood depended on Democrats being able to abolish the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, which didn’t happen. An elected delegate is the District’s only voice but has no floor vote. There are currently four Democratic candidates and one Republican for the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, including the incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton.

The D.C. elections board has tentatively set May 16 as the date they will begin to send out ballots and May 27 as the first day ballot drop-off boxes may become available including possibly five sites in Ward 2.


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