D.C. Mayor Bowser, a political figure both lauded and criticized for her shepherding of the District during a period of economic development, spikes in homicide and widening inequality, will serve another four-year term as city executive.
On Tuesday night, Bowser won re-election with more than 76 percent of the votes, becoming the second mayor to do so since 2002. She celebrated her electoral victory with political colleagues, supporters and family at Franklin Hall on the U Street corridor in Northwest.
“I learned early, early on that the only way to win elections is to work hard,” Bowser told audience members to raucous applause. “The way to get people to vote for you was do what you would say you would do and make the lives of people in D.C. better. I know because I come from Ward 5, where hard work pays off.”
During her first term, Bowser prioritized urban development, homelessness, education and public safety as key issues. Her budget proposal for the 2019 fiscal year focused on infrastructure repairs, expansion of green space, and construction of a new east-of-the-river hospital.
Earlier this year, the Entertainment & Sports Arena, a collaborative effort between Monumental Sports and Events DC facilitated by Bowser, opened on St. Elizabeths east campus in Southeast with much fanfare.
More recently, Bowser fulfilled her pledge to shut down DC General, a hospital turned homeless shelter at the center of Relisha Rudd’s 2014 disappearance case. During her first term, the District preserved or opened more than 6,000 affordable housing units, seven of which are short-term family housing units scattered throughout the city, to aid families displaced by DC General’s closure.
After a primary in June where she snatched nearly 80 percent of the vote, Bowser, a Democrat in a mostly-Democratic city, ran nominally unopposed.
James Butler, a Ward 5 ANC commissioner and one of her primary challengers, utilized social media and on-the-ground campaigning in a write-in mayoral campaign he launched in the aftermath of Bowser’s primary win.
Those efforts however, didn’t suffice against what seemed to some people the inevitability of a Bowser victory.