Troy Prestwood (left), who serves as the president of the Ward 8 Democrats and is a former advisory neighborhood commissioner, faces a challenge by Salim Adofo (right), the club’s second vice president. (WI file photo)
Troy Prestwood (left), who serves as the president of the Ward 8 Democrats and is a former advisory neighborhood commissioner, faces a challenge by Salim Adofo (right), the club’s second vice president. (WI file photo)

Troy Donte Prestwood will seek reelection as the president of the Ward 8 Democrats but he faces a challenge from the club’s second vice president, Salim Adofo.

The showdown will occur at the club’s 2021 biennial convention slated for Sept. 18 at the Temple of Praise Church. All Ward 8 registered Democrats will be allowed to cast their ballot for the office of president and other positions including first and second vice president and recording and corresponding secretary and corresponding secretary. While the convention kicks off at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., the voting begins at noon and concludes at 2 p.m.  

Whoever emerges as the president will take over one of the District’s most active political clubs among the city’s eight wards. With 48,760 registered Democrats, according to recent data from the D.C. Board of Elections, the Ward 8 Democrats has the sixth greatest number of Democratic members in the city. With 82% of the ward’s registered voters as Democrats, it trails only neighboring Ward 7 as having the highest percentage of the party’s members in the District. 

The Ward 8 Democrats have historically defined trends in mayoral contests. In 2010, though D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty received the most votes out of the Ward 8 Democrats during a public poll, the momentum in the race shifted to then D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray who defeated Fenty in the Democratic primary. 

Four years later, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s campaign for mayor received a crucial boost when she defeated Gray in a straw poll of Ward 8 Democrats. Past presidents of the Ward 8 Democrats include D.C. Democratic State Committee Chairman Charles Wilson and At-Large D.C. State Board of Education member Jacque Patterson.

Prestwood Wants to Continue the Momentum 

Prestwood has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner for the 8A commission based in Anacostia. First elected president of the Ward 8 Democrats in 2019, he said he wants to continue the progress the club has made under his leadership.

“We still have more work to do,” he said. “We have a strong record to run on.”

Prestwood noted club events dealing with the census, the District government budget, the push to get more ward residents on the city’s boards and commissions, establishing the Ward 8 Democrats Lifetime Achievement Award and setting up a celebration of the LGBTQ community, among his several   accomplishments.

“In regard to the LGBTQ celebration, we wanted to make sure all of the voices in the community are heard,” he said.

If reelected, Prestwood wants to continue to educate ward residents on the new voting technologies, testify before the D.C. Council on policies and legislation, reach out to young people in the ward with better engagement and continue to help more residents register to vote.

Adofo Shares Multi-Tiered Platform 

Adofo has served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner for 8C since 2018, defeating longtime commissioner Mary Cuthbert for the position. He currently chairs the 8C Commission and has consistently supported policy changes for liquor licenses of retail establishments and proposed strategies for curtailing the ward’s deadly gun violence.

He has also worked extensively with the District’s chapter of the National Black United Front in their efforts to host food drives and clothing giveaways. 

If elected, Adofo said he will work to better prepare those who have an interest in representing Ward 8, increase the ward’s engagement on legislation on the D.C. Council and provide an avenue for residents to gain greater understanding of the political process while allowing more opportunities for civic engagement among students.

James Wright Jr.

James Wright Jr. is the D.C. political reporter for the Washington Informer Newspaper. He has worked for the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper as a reporter, city editor and freelance writer and The Washington...

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