The city voted yesterday for more than just the President, there were three charter amendments related to ethics, six seats on the city council and its chairman’s job up for grabs, and the more than 250 ANC seats up for grabs across all eight wards. Lines were long yesterday, and stories concerning the difficulty of the electoral process are likely to come out in the days to come, but the increasingly-frequent paperwork revolution through election is mostly complete.
The Big Story: David Grosso (City Council)
Financial difficulties of incumbent council member Michael A. Brown were enough to undo him on Tuesday night, as David Grosso was successful enough in his messaging to unseat the listing Brown, who was unable to get his campaign’s financial house in order after more than a hundred thousand dollars went missing from his campaign.
Grosso won 68,000+ votes across the city to claim his At-Large seat, some 18,000+ more than Brown. Grosso’s campaign – focused on ethics issues – struck a nerve with the scandal-weary voters of the District, who also voted in by large margins ethics reforms that the city council requested be placed on the ballot. Each of the three ethics provisions passed the vote, and all earned more than 75% support in the process, disallowing felons to serve on the council or as mayor, and allowing the council to expel a member on a 5/6ths majority.
Grosso will join Vincent Orange, who was re-elected in the #1 position with more than 122,000 votes, and David Catania as the current At-Large members of the council. Phil Mendelson, currently the acting chair of the council, will move permanently to that position after his successful run in the special election that was held in conjunction with the general election. His seat, soon to be certified vacant, will be replaced in another special election this Spring.
The Non-Stories: Incumbents Triumph
The incumbents of the City Council had a good night last night, with Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), Marion Barry (Ward 8), Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) all winning re-election. Only Barry and Alexander had opponents on the ballot, though neither opponent managed to gather more than 12.3% of the vote. No one had expected a shake-up in either Ward 7 or 8, despite fierce opposition from “civil rights Republican” Ron Moten in Ward 7.
Overall, Moten outperformed the city’s other Republican candidate, Mary Brooks Beatty in the At-Large race, perhaps signaling to the District’s GOP that there may be an opportunity for an opposition party east of the River. The DC GOP would do well to look to capitalize on Moten’s success in Ward 7 in getting out his message.
The Little Stories
There were 291 little elections in the District yesterday, in addition to the city-and ward-wide ones we’ve talked about, all done by groups of less than 2,000, to establish the members of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, which work hard in their neighborhoods to work with area businesses. Some of them turn into little fiefdoms, some of them pockets of prosperity, some of them struggle as their SMD remains empty.
To all those who won election last night: I congratulate you.
To all those who ran for the seat but did not win: I thank you for your engagement, your tireless work, and your desire to see your community get better. Stay involved in your community, work to make it a stronger, better place for us all to live together.