D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser greets supporters at the Shepherd Elementary School in Northwest after casting her vote in the city's primary election on June 19. Bowser, seeking re-election, won the primary by receiving more than 80 percent of the vote. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser greets supporters at the Shepherd Elementary School in Northwest after casting her vote in the city's primary election on June 19. Bowser, seeking re-election, won the primary by receiving more than 80 percent of the vote. (Shevry Lassiter/The Washington Informer)

District residents chose to maintain the status quo.

According to unofficial results in the city’s Democratic primary Tuesday, June 19, Mayor Muriel Bowser and five council members easily defeated their opponents. Each won by nearly double the voter output.

Although Bowser will have competition in the general election, she’s expected to become the first mayor since 2006 to win a second term in the heavily Democratic city.

“I can promise you like I promised you back in 2007 that you can trust me. Nobody’s going to work harder, longer, or stronger than Muriel Bowser,” she said to an energetic group of supporters at Town in Northwest. “We’re not taking our foot off the gas. This was the primary. The election is in November.”

Still, not everyone seemed pleased with the results. During Bowser’s victory speech, members of DC’s Black Lives Matter movement interrupted her, dissatisfied because of an increase of murders of Blacks.

They chanted, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”

The mayor did not reply but her supporters yelled, “Four more years!”

Unofficial results show Bowser received 58,431, or 80 percent, of the votes tallied. The runner-up, James Butler, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 5, received 7,532 votes.

Thousands of voters endured heavy rain part of the day Tuesday which may have created a decrease in voter turnout.

A total of 84,517, or 18 percent, votes got cast in Tuesday’s primary, down from 27 percent in the 2014 primary.

Nearly 14,500 Washingtonians chose to cast their ballots during early voting.

“We need to do a better job of getting people more interested in voting, so we can make sure that the leaders we have make decisions on our behalf – decisions we want,” said Tanya Kinlow, the third person to vote at her Ward 8 voting poll who later picketed for her daughter, Tiye Kinlow, in her bid for at-large committeewomen of the Democratic State Committee.

Before the rains came Tuesday, Moniqua and Maurice Sawyer voted at Shepherd Elementary in Northwest and cast their ballots for Bowser.

Moniqua Sawyer, 52, a D.C. public schools teacher, wants the city to ensure “all students, special education students as well, receive the services that are optimum and not just bare minimum.”

Even in heavy rain and with a severely swollen leg, Lisa Jackson still voted at her polling place, Fereb-Hope Elementary in Southeast.

Jackson, a hospitality worker for PeopleReady staffing agency in Hyattsville, said one reason she voted for Bowser stems from the mayor’s push to increase more money for Metro.

“She’s a good mayor,” Jackson said. “Even in all this pain, I was going to vote for her and just vote, period.”

Charles Ferguson, a Ward 5 resident, said the city needs more affordable housing, human and social services, for needy families and individuals and re-entry programs for returning citizens.

That’s why he picketed for James Butler as mayor.

“We need a change,” Ferguson said. “Ms. Bowser hasn’t gotten the job done.”

Besides Bowser, all five council members in contested races won their Democratic primary contests.

According to unofficial results, here’s how they fared:

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson picked up nearly 46,000 votes against Ed Lazere who received 27,261.

Approximately 9,394 voters chose Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) over Lisa Hunter, who garnered 4,340 votes.

Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) received 5,263 votes ahead of second place Sheika Reid with 1,471.

Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) with 7,245 votes ahead of runner-up Gayle Hall Carley who received 1,572.

Anita Bonds (D-At Large) with 37,012 votes in front of Jeremiah Lowery with 16,914 and Marcus Goodwin with 16,663.

Goodwin, who received support from the late Marion Barry’s widow, Cora Masters Barry, said he learned about running a citywide campaign.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said in an interview before he gave a concession speech before dozens of supporters at HalfSmoke restaurant in Northwest. “I want to make sure going forward we continue this momentum and . . . create successful youth and inter-generational support. I want to make sure a new vision for the city is fulfilled.”

In other contests, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton won her primary contest by more than triple the voter output, moving her that much closer to marking her 15th term in Congress.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) ran unopposed which puts them on the path for re-election in the general election in November.

Meanwhile, voters also approved a controversial and confusing measure known as Initiative 77, which would end an exemption that allows businesses to pay less than the minimum wage to tipped workers such as restaurant waiters and bartenders. The Council must still approve the measure which, to date, does not seem to have enough support for the initiative to become enacted into law.

The measure passed with 44,353, or 55 percent, of the vote; compared to 36,090, or 45 percent who opposed. Businesses would have to pay workers a minimum wage of $12.50 an hour that increases to $15 per hour by 2020.

According to current law, the minimum wage for tipped employees currently stands at $3.33 and will increase up to $5 by July 1, 2020.

Several voters against the measure wore “Vote NO #77” buttons.

Kyre Williams, a bartender, stood outside a Ward 5 polling station to discourage voters from approving the proposal. As an independent voter, Williams couldn’t vote in the primary because the city’s primary is closed to voters not registered as a Democratic, Republican, Liberation, or Statehood Green.

“It will influence [customers] not to tip,” said Kyre Williams, a bartender said. “The idea is for [customers] to trust that that hourly wage [of $15] is good enough and we all know $15 an hour is not enough.”

WI intern Lauryn Hill contributed to this report.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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