Brooke Pinto declares victory in D.C. Council Ward 2 reelection bid

Media Credit: Sarah Urtz | Staff Photographer

Pinto originally joined the Council as the first woman to hold the Ward 2 seat and the youngest Council member ever elected at 28 years old after a special election in June.

Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 8:46 p.m.

Brooke Pinto declared she’s been reelected to the D.C. Council’s Ward 2 seat Wednesday.

Pinto – the short-term incumbent in Ward 2, which includes Foggy Bottom – maintained the lead she cemented Tuesday night as mail-in ballot results trickled in and secured nearly 69 percent of the vote with more than 270,000 ballots counted in D.C. as of Wednesday afternoon. With a victory, she will serve a full four-year term on the Council after completing the remainder of former Council member Jack Evans’ term following his resignation.

Pinto tweeted at 2:18 p.m., declaring victory “by quite a large margin” and thanking her supporters. The D.C. Board of Elections will continue to count ballots received up to Nov. 13.

She said she plans to “continue to seek out and work with diverse perspectives” that will benefit the District.

“Thank you so much to the voters of Ward 2 and my wonderful team and volunteers who supported me in this election and entrusted me with the responsibility to serve as your Council member for four more years,” she said in the statement.

Pinto originally joined the Council as the first woman to hold the Ward 2 seat and the youngest Council member ever elected at 28 years old after a special election in June. The special election followed the controversial resignation of Jack Evans, the ward’s Council member since 1991, who fell under several city, regional and federal investigations that found he violated the Council’s ethics code four times since 2014.

Pinto replaced Evans but started facing her own ethics concerns before she was elected when a local attorney alleged she violated campaign finance laws during the pandemic. Although the complaint was eventually dismissed, two independent challengers and a Green Party candidate entered the race with a common goal of unseating Pinto because of her ethics and voting record on the Council, which opposed raising the wealth tax and severing ties between the Metropolitan Police Department and D.C. Public Schools.

The independent candidates – Martín Miguel Fernandez, a biomedical anthropologist, and Randy Downs, a local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner – joined the Ward 2 race in June and July, respectively, in hopes of challenging Pinto’s bid for a permanent term. Peter Bolton, the ward’s Green Party nominee, launched his campaign with vocal opposition to Pinto and the independent candidates, whom he labeled “switchers” for their prior Democratic affiliations.

Downs – who was projected to outraise Pinto, according to a DC Geekery analysisreceived just more than 20 percent of the Ward 2 vote. He issued an email to his supporters Wednesday, thanking them for their help throughout the campaign and refusing to end his “fight” for more affordable housing, better public safety and an effective COVID-19 recovery.

“I will continue to work with you for COVID recovery that prioritizes the needs of residents, workers and small businesses,” Downs said in the email. “I will continue to fight alongside you for affordable housing so that long-standing residents can stay in our community and new neighbors aren’t shut out by high costs.”

Fernandez and Bolton reeled in about seven and three percent of the vote, respectively.

Pinto will continue to serve the remainder of Evans’ term until January and will enter her own four-year term at the start of next year.

In other local races, senior James Harnett has lost his bid for the Ward 2 seat on the D.C. State Board of Education while senior Yannik Omictin awaits results for his write-in campaign for the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Allister Chang, who works at a nonprofit incubator, sealed victory in the state board race when he captured nearly 50 percent of Ward 2 ballots. Harnett tallied votes on 2,217 of the counted ballots in Ward 2, receiving just short of 12 percent of the recorded vote as of Wednesday afternoon.

Harnett congratulated Chang on his victory via Twitter earlier Wednesday.

“I know we will continue to fight together to fully fund our public schools and pursue accountability for our students, teachers, and parents,” he tweeted.

Harnett has served on the Foggy Bottom and West End ANC since his sophomore year in 2018 and this summer became the youngest person to ever chair an ANC in the District’s history.

Harnett launched his campaign for the state board in July, pledging to improve equitable access to resources like technology, mental health services and local infrastructure for public schools across Ward 2 and D.C. at large.

Harnett said in an interview that he hasn’t considered the possibility of future campaigns for local office and will spend the near future helping newly elected Foggy Bottom and West End ANC commissioners “hit the ground running” at the start of the next term, as he looks to continue serving the local community.

“It was disappointing to lose, but I know all of us got into this race because we care about the issues and we care about serving our community,” he said. “And I know that that’s certainly not going anywhere for me. I’m going to continue to be involved, continue to advocate for what’s right, continue to be a champion for change.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.