On Monday we ran a poll asking Borderstan readers about their choice for mayor in the September 14 Democratic primary. As this is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the Democratic mayoral primary has always been the vote that counts.
Incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty took 49% of the vote while his main rival, DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray got 26% and “Other” garnered 4% of reader votes. What might be surprising is the large number of undecided voters, especially with an incumbent in the race: 21% of voters selected “Undecided.”
The recent mayoral race poll at Prince of Petworth was worded differently (Don Pebbles was included), but the results were similar: Fenty at 51% and Gray at 33%.
You can read the background article here with Monday’s poll, “Reader Poll: The Race for DC Mayor.”
If the local political scene has you baffled, here is a very very brief backgrounder on mayoral elections before we get to the reader poll. And, for coverage of DC politics, here are some suggestions.
Read the Washington City Paper; its “City Desk” and “Loose Lips” columns/blogs are very informative. The DC Agenda (the weekly gay newspaper) is another good source of information on DC politics as WAMU-88.5 FM. Naturally, the Post covers local politics in detail and the dcist is another good online source of city news.
As noted, the race for DC mayor is underway. Since this is an overwhemingly Democratic city, the Democratic Primary in September (on the 14th this year) has always determined the winner; the November general election is an afterthought. In 2006, the Republican and Green Party candidates got 6% and 4% of the vote, respectively.
Just how Democratic is DC? There are 12 members of the DC Council and a Council chairman. The city’s homerule charter actually reserves two spots for the non-majority party (the Democrats). Both of those seats are now held by independents (David Catania a former Republican and Michael Brown, who is really a Democrat).
The only time there was a serious general election campaign was 1994 when former Councilmember Carol Schwartz got 42% of the vote as a [liberal] Republican. She was running against Marion Barry who was making a comeback after four years out of office; he is now a member of the DC Council from Ward 8 (there is much more to the Barry story, as you undoubtedly know).
Let’s see how Borderstan readers feel about the race for mayor, specifically the September 14 Democratic primary. (Other declared candidates are Leo Alexander and Donna Alston.) It will be interesting to compare our readers versus those of the Prince of Petworth, who recently ran a poll. We will also have reader polls soon for the At-Large Council seats and the Council Chairman.
Note: DC’s primaries are “closed”—you must be registered in a party in order to vote in its primary. Moreover, if you are not registered in a party, you are ineligible to vote in any primary. If you want to vote in the September 14 Democratic primary (or the Republican or the Statehood Green Party), you must be a member of that party.