Incumbent Dorothy Miller defeated GW senior Kris Hart with 72 percent of the vote for a spot on a locally elected community board Tuesday.
Miller will remain chair of Foggy Bottom and West End’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission despite Hart’s efforts to oust the 12-year incumbent in a write-in campaign.
“I greatly appreciate the support of the community,” Miller said Wednesday morning. “My community matters to me and fortunately what I’ve done matters to them.”
Miller received 175 votes while all other write-in candidates garnered 69 votes. D.C. election documents did not differentiate between Hart and other possible write-in candidates. The former Student Association president was a write-in candidate because he failed to turn in paperwork to the city on time.
The results show that Hart’s campaign had an effect on Miller’s popularity. Her margin of victory was greater in 2002, when she won 93 percent of the vote.
In an e-mail to supporters late Wednesday night, Hart wrote, “My opposition has succeeded for her seventh term on the ANC.? I congratulate her warmly and look forward to working with her to build a better Foggy Bottom, together.”
GW senior Graham Long, who served on the ANC this year and chose not to run for re-election, said Hart lost because his name was not printed on the ballot.
“It’s extremely difficult to run as a write-in candidate, especially when there’s only one other person on the ballot because it looks like there is only one person running,” he said.
Michael Akin, director of the Office of Foggy Bottom/West End Affairs, agreed with Long and said while Miller’s win is not surprising, Hart’s efforts should not go overlooked. University officials, including President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, openly supported Hart in his campaign to oust Miller.
“It’s an amazing responsibility to stand up for something you believe in,” Akin said. “He deserves a great amount of credit for doing that and putting himself out there.”
Miller is the six-member board’s most vocal member and is known for her disapproval of GW’s expansion into the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. Akin said she has constantly refused to meet with University administrators to discuss community concerns.
While Hart’s election would have improved the University’s ability to work with the neighborhood, Miller’s win is not discouraging, Akin said.
“The University is extremely ready and willing to work with all interested parties to work out town-gown issues through honest and open dialogue, and that includes commissioner Miller,” Akin said.
Despite the continuance of Miller’s leadership, Long predicted changes in the Foggy Bottom ANC within the next two years because of the election of three first-term board members.
Unopposed newcomers Anne Savage, James Morris and Vince Micone replaced former members Maria Tyler, James Lewis and Long. ANC veterans David Lehrman, Richard Price and Miller retained their seats.
“We are going to have a different ANC in January, even with Dorothy Miller remaining as the chair,” Long said. “The ANC is six people, and there are some people on the board that are willing to work with the University, and I think we’ll be able to see that in January.”
Long said he chose not to run for re-election because of the two-year commitment of commissioners.
“In light of the fact that I don’t know if I’ll be living in Washington after I graduate, I didn’t want to run for reelection and be forced to resign, leaving a vacant seat,” he said.
Lewis, a former commissioner, said his role as a trustee of the D.C. Public Library influenced his decision not to run for another term.
“I wanted to devote more time to the public library, and I’m also employed full-time at Merrill Lynch,” he said. “I don’t have full time to devote to community service.”
Tyler said her decision not to run for re-election was because of her dissatisfaction with the University.
“I don’t want to deal with GW anymore. They wore me out,” Tyler said. “Their expansion is abominable, and I don’t want to have anything to do with them anymore. I’m exhausted.”
Fifty-four percent of registered D.C. voters cast ballots in the election Tuesday. More than 400 members of the Foggy Bottom community voted in the local ANC election, a 100-person larger turnout than in 2002.
-Ryan Holeywell contributed to this report.