Wednesday, April 2, 2014
I attended my first election watch party at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill for Mayor Vince Gray. Too bad I saw how things are when a candidate loses but the experience was certainly one I wont forget. The biggest problem of the night was the DC Board of Election and Ethics not accurately reporting the numbers correctly. Allegedly the machine that that counts the electronic ballots was having issues. As it stands now Muriel Bowser won with a 10% lead over Gray.
My takes from this election:
Unfortunately for Mayor Gray the shadow campaign really overshadowed all the great work he has done for the last 3 1/2 years in the city. Although he has not been indicted or proven guilty by a court of law, the court of public opinion proved him guilty.
Many believe Muriel is not ready for office which is one of the reasons why I didn't support her. I didn't see any real plans regarding the future of this city that made me wanted to change my vote from the current mayor. Also understand I have no dogs in this fight. I came into DC government during the Fenty administration. I find it ironic that voters wanted Fenty out so bad and now they don't know what they want, based off the close results. Outside of the 2010 shadow election shadow, Gray was clearly the best candidate. The city is doing very well. Of course, there are issues such as homelessness and affordable housing that needs to be addressed but overall compared to other major cities DC is sitting pretty nice. My next choice would have been Jack Evans. He probably knows this city better than anyone since he has been on the city council since 1991.
I also believe that since there were so many candidates running the votes split so many ways, which looks bad when there is a low turnout election like the one it was (currently at 21%). Tommy Wells came in 3rd place which was a complete surprise to me. He did very well in Wards west of the river. Muriel Bowser did well in Wards 1,2,3,4 and 6. Gray dominated in Wards 5,7,8. Anyone who knows DC this came down to possibly race and class. This city is still suffering with a sense of the haves and the have nots. I don't think Muriel can bridge that gap...at least not until I see some sort of plan.
The general election will probably come down to David Catania, a white gay man, running against Muriel Bowser. I expect low voter turnout and foreshadowing our first white mayor. According to a poll DC is one of the gayest cities in America and if he runs his campaign the right way he will get those white gay voters (and their money). In order for Muriel to win, she will need to look more polished on the issues facing our city. Simply talking about a shadow campaign and how you "passed" the biggest ethics reform bill wont win her the mayor's office. She also does not support the current schools Chancellor who has done very well. DC schools were given a shout-out in President Obama's State of the Union address. Catania has some baggage however, as the controversial United Medical Center falls under his council committee. Those votes East of the river, if the voters even decide to vote, will go to Bowser. The next 9 months shall sure be interesting.