D.C. mayor on road to re-election

Posted 8:26 p.m. Sept. 12

by Marcus Mrowka

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – With the large number of write-in votes still to be counted, it appears that current Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams will have another shot at office later this fall.

The latest reports indicate that Williams seems to have won in a landslide over Rev. Willie Wilson and other smaller rivals in the Washington, D.C., Democratic primaries this week.

Williams, who was denied a spot on the ballot due to alleged forgeries in his nominating process, had to appear as a write-in candidate. The Williams campaign was fined nearly $300,000 for the forgeries. Following the allegations, Williams considered leaving the Democratic Party as an Independent, but decided to re-enter the race as a write-in candidate instead.

Election officials do not plan to release the final results until up to 10 day after the primary because of the large number of write-in ballots still left to be counted. Wilson was also a write-in candidate and was Williams’ most formidable opponent.

Wilson is a pastor at the Union Temple Baptist Church in southeast section of the city. He has sponsored low-income housing projects around the city, started drug rehabilitation programs and AIDS counseling. Wilson entered the race after news of Williams’ election scandal became public knowledge and believed that there was no one else who would “mount a formidable opposition.”

Other candidates included Douglas Moore, a major competitor before Wilson entered. Another less-known competitor who prefers the name Faith sang and performed in the streets to drum up support for his plans to turn the city into a large arts and theatre district. Osie Thorpe, another write-in, promised to clean up the city government and James Clark ran with the platform of returning Washington back to the “chocolate city.”

Many black citizens criticized Williams for favoring richer white constituents over blacks. Wilson played upon this in the campaign, trying to win the black vote and portray Williams as a mayor who catered to business and money and forgot about lower-income neighborhoods.

According to the Williams’ camp, the mayor is anxious to restore his political standing in the city.

“I’ve regenerated the tanks,” he said while bouncing between a number of Sept. 11 memorial events.

Williams said he would take different actions if re-elected and would spend more time in Washington’s neighborhoods trying to build up his base of black voters.

“This brush with political death has been a very humbling experience for me,” he said, talking about the election scandals and the tough primary race.

Williams will face D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate Steve Donkin, the uncontested winner for his party, in the November election. Republicans in the city launched a write-in campaign for D.C. Council member Carol Shwartz. Shwartz has not no commented on whether or not she will accept the GOP nomination if it is offered to her.

“I go back and forth. I’m very grateful there’s a deadline [to decide],” she said.

Final results will not be released for up to a week, but Williams has an almost certain victory and will face his Republican opponent in the November elections in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 10 to one.

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