Muriel Bowser wins second term as D.C. mayor

November 7, 2018

Tuesday’s general election in the District was a rainy affair with no surprises except for a surge in voter turnout.

With 108 of 143 precincts reporting, Mayor Muriel Bowser secured her re-election bid with 127,387 votes (76.37 percent). Libertarian challenger Martin Moulton won 5,424 votes (3.25 percent), and State Green Party candidate Ann Wilcox garnered 15,785 votes (9.46 percent). Dustin Canter, an independent, had 11,281 votes (6.76 percent).

In the race for D.C. Council chairman, Democratic incumbent Phil Mendelson won 147,695 votes (89.15 percent), and Libertarian challenger Ethan Bishop-Henchman had 13,761 votes (8.31 percent).

“I’m 53 years old and this is the first time I voted,” said Yolanda, a Ward 5 voter who said she was motivated to the polls this year out of frustration with the Trump administration. But she cast a reluctant vote for Miss Bowser, saying, “I think she’s more for the rich.”

A dozen other voters at precincts across the District said they wished the ballots included a stronger contender to Miss Bowser citing the mayor’s failure to improve the city’s affordable housing shortage or address a series of education scandals that occurred during her first term.

Others, like Patrick Kenny, 74, who voted at the polls at Chevy Chase’s United Methodist Church, said they support the mayor because “she’s been good for business.”

“I am not enthused about the degree Bowser allowed developers to run this city,” said Kathleen Brown, 59, at the Eastern Market precinct. “And I don’t like the way she’s treated [D.C. Council member Elissa] Silverman.”

Attitudes about Miss Bowser have driven the contentious at-large council race between Ms. Silverman, an at-large independent who wrote a series of progressive legislation including paid family leave, and independent challenger Dionne Reeder, who ran on a pro-business platform backed by the mayor.

Ms. Silverman received 68,730 votes (26.6 percent), and fellow incumbent Anita Bonds, a Democrat, got 114,058 votes (44.15 percent).

Ms. Reeder collected 37,566 votes (14.54 percent), and fellow independent challenger Rustin Lewis got 6,404 votes (2.48 percent). Republican challenger Ralph Chittams had 9,092 votes (3.52 percent), and State Green Party candidate David Schwartzman collected 20,209 votes (7.82 percent).

Another Chevy Chase precinct voter, Vera Sky, 78, said she couldn’t decide between the two candidates so voted for both.

One thing all D.C. voters who spoke to The Times mentioned was anger over a lack of Congressional representation as frustration mounts with the Trump administration.

Zach Bluestone said he felt “underwhelmed” after casting his ballot in Chevy Chase with wife Abby Bluestone who said they only voted to show the process to their children Leena, 6, and Violet, 3, along. “Going with them was the most exciting part,” said Mrs. Bluestone.

“Our country is about having a representative democracy and we’re denied representatives,” said political analyst Rob Bunning after casting his ballot. “It’s sad.”

Voters waited in long lines at several D.C. precincts as turnout exceeded city expectations, but Eastern Market’s North Hall experienced lines so long one poll worker compared it to “a can of sardines.”

Lines were caused by the precinct operating with only one working ballot machine for most of the day. The Times saw a Board of Election employee opening the machine to insert ballots by hand and reshuffle ballots when the feeder system jammed. Board of Election spokeswoman Rachel Coll said that was “not the preferred way” to submit ballots.

In Ward 1, council member Brianne Nadeau, a Democrat, won 15,695 votes (78.26 percent), and independent challenger Jamie Sycamore received 4,193 votes (20.91 percent).

In Ward 3, Democratic council member Mary Cheh garnered 18,394 votes (74.33 percent), and independent challenger Petar Dimtchev collected 6,193 votes (25.02 percent).

In Ward 5, council member Kenyan McDuffie, a Democrat, had 16,979 votes (79.55 percent), and State Green Party candidate Joyce Robinson-Paul got 1,450 votes (6.79 percent). Independent challenger Amone Banks received 794 votes (3.72 percent) and fellow independent candidate Kathy Henderson collected 1,732 votes (8.12 percent).

In Ward 6, Democratic council member Charles Allen had 23,999 votes (89.7 percent), and Republican challenger Michael Bekesha received 2,508 votes (9.37 percent).

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