In D.C., Bowser Wins; Progressives, Too


The center held, more or less, as Mayor Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination and a chance to have a third term — besting her opponent Robert White by 10,000 votes and in all but one ward of the District. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and At-large Council member Anita Bonds added to the winning columns of incumbents. It looks like the mainstream has the support of voters.

Still, new Council members for Wards 3 and 5, Matt Frumin and Zachary Parker, likely to be elected in November, will join the so-called progressive group of city lawmakers — along with the renominated Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau. It looks like the left-leaning members also have the support of voters.

As Bowser supporters said, she won in all neighborhoods of this racially and economically diverse city. Bowser in her victory speech at Franklin Hall on Florida Avenue said something more to happy supporters.

“Today I stand in the footsteps of Marion Barry,” she said, bringing up the memory of the “mayor for life,” beloved by many. “We won’t lose our Chocolate City, but we will invest in it. We will continue to be a city where Black Washingtonians thrive.” Next to Bowser stood D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, ready for a 16th term in the House of Representatives. 

The Old Guard is aligned with the new D.C. — and some changes are expected, no doubt. Ward 5 nominee Parker told his supporters at Ivy City Smokehouse on June 21: “Change was delivered.” 

After his watch party at Hook Hall on Georgia Avenue, Robert White observed: “We may not have gotten all the way there this time, but what we inspired can’t be undone. Together, we brought hope, we lifted up the voices of people who felt unheard, and we changed the trajectory of our city.… Thank you for believing in this movement before it was clear. You all mean the world to me. We built this campaign on the belief that our city can work for all our residents, that we can elect a government we can trust, and that we can realize D.C.’s full potential. I still believe in this vision and I’m not done working to make it a reality.”

White telephoned the mayor and congratulated her on her victory.

For now, Bowser can celebrate. The highlight of her joyful June 22 news conference at the 11th Street campaign headquarters was a congratulatory phone call from Vice President Kamala Harris.

In the footsteps of Barry? You shall see — as former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry announced on social media a few days before the primary election: “Muriel Bowser reminds me of my husband: Marion Barry, Mayor for Life. She is a fighter for us. She delivers. She doesn’t forget the little people. She fights for the least, the lost & the left out and that’s what he did.”

Tuesday’s results are yet to be certified. The general election is on Nov. 8.

A victorious Mayor Muriel Bowser arrives at Franklin Hall party June 21 to the applause of supporters. Photo by Robert Devaney.

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