Posted by on June 21, 2022 5:34 pm
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Five races to watch in DC’s primary

Washington, D.C. is set to hold its primary on Tuesday, with the results signaling which direction the capital will go in amid growing concerns over crime and housing costs. 

In a city that is overwhelmingly Democratic and where a Republican has never been elected mayor, the Democratic primaries largely determine who will be elected to various offices in November. The last Republican to serve on the D.C. Council left their seat in 2009. 

Early in-person voting runs from June 10 to 19, and all mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday and received by the Board of Elections by June 28 to be counted. 

Here are five races to watch in D.C.’s primary on Tuesday. 

Mayor 

Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) is running for a third term in office but is facing three challengers, At-Large D.C. Council member Robert White, Ward 8 Council member Trayon White and Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner James Butler. 

Polls have shown Robert White to be the most significant challenger, running to Bowser’s left. Reducing rising violent crime and increasing the number of affordable housing units have been some of the top issues of the race. 

Bowser’s notable endorsements include the abortion rights group EMILY’s List, the Metro Washington Labor Council AFL-CIO and The Washington Post’s editorial board. Robert White has been endorsed by D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and organizations like the Sierra Club, the Washington Teachers’ Union and the D.C. Working Families Party. 

A poll commissioned by Robert White’s campaign earlier this month showed Bowser leading White by just four points, 41 percent to 37 percent. Trayon White received 6 percent, and 15 percent were undecided. The poll showed about half of respondents rated Bowser’s job performance as “excellent” or “good” and half marked her performance as “just fair” or “poor.” 

The winner will face Stacia Hall, the only Republican candidate, in the general election. 

Attorney General 

Incumbent Karl Racine (D), who has served as attorney general since 2015, announced in October that he would not seek reelection. 

Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie was considered a potential frontrunner for the Democratic nomination after declaring his run soon after Racine’s announcement, but he suspended his campaign last month after the D.C. Board of Elections ruled he was ineligible to run. Attorney Bruce Spiva, another candidate, successfully argued that McDuffie did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position because he had not actively worked as an attorney in the past decade while serving on the Council. 

Spiva is facing fellow attorneys Brian Schwalb and Ryan Jones. Racine has endorsed Schwalb, who also received endorsements from former D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan (D) and three major unions representing plumbers, carpenters and ironworkers, respectively. 

Spiva has been endorsed by former U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli (D), former D.C. shadow House representative John Capozzi (D) and the Sierra Club. Jones has been endorsed by former At-Large Council member Vincent Orange (D). 

At-Large Council member 

Anita Bonds is running for a third full term after having served as an at-large member of the Council since 2012. Bonds served as chair of the D.C. Democratic Party for more than a decade and has served in multiple mayoral administrations. 

She has received endorsements from Council chairman Phil Mendelson (D), Ward 7 Council member and former Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and former Mayor Anthony Williams (D). She has also been endorsed by a couple labor unions and the District of Columbia Association of Realtors. 

Bonds is facing three challengers. Nate Fleming, who was endorsed by The Post’s editorial board, ran against Bonds in 2014 when she was seeking her first full term after being appointed to finish Council chairman Phil Mendelson’s term. He was elected as D.C.’s shadow representative to the House in 2013 and most recently served as the Council’s legislative and committee director. 

Lisa Gore is an ANC commissioner for Chevy Chase, Md., and worked in federal law enforcement until her retirement in 2020. She has been endorsed by the D.C. chapter of the National Organization of Women. 

Dexter Williams, who used to work for Robert White, was endorsed by the D.C. Latino Caucus and the Washington Teachers’ Union. 

Ward 1 Council member 

Brianne Nadeau is running for a third term representing Ward 1. She has received endorsements from multiple organizations and several of her colleagues on the Council, including Robert White, Ward 4 Council member Janeese Lewis George (D) and Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen (D). 

Nadeau is facing off against two challengers, former MPD officer Salah Czapary and ANC Commissioner Sabel Harris. Czapary received an endorsement from the Post’s editorial board. 

Ward 5 Council member 

More than a half dozen candidates are running to fill the vacancy left by McDuffie when he ran for attorney general. 

A couple weeks after McDuffie suspended his attorney general campaign, he endorsed Faith Gibson Hubbard, a D.C. government worker, to succeed him representing Ward 5. She was also endorsed by At-Large Council member Christina Henderson (I) and former At-Large Council member David Grosso (I). 

Vincent Orange is seeking to return to the Council after holding an at-large seat from 2011 to 2016 and the Ward 5 seat from 1999 to 2007. He was endorsed by John Ray (D), a former at-large council member. 

Zachary Parker, the president of the D.C. State Board of Education, is also seeking the Democratic nomination, receiving endorsements from Racine, Ward 4 Council member Janeese Lewis George (D) and multiple labor unions. 

Other candidates include Ward 5 Democratic chairman and ANC Commissioner Gordon Fletcher, former ANC Kathy Henderson, retired deputy U.S. Marshal Art Lloyd and Gary Johnson, the founder of a non-profit organization focused on academic and socio-emotional youth development programs in the D.C. area.

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