partlycloudy
Tuesday May 31st, 2016 4:30PM

Voters boot DC mayor from office

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Reeling from allegations by federal prosecutors that he knew about the dirty tricks that helped him get elected four years ago, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray tried to rally his base. But his core supporters weren't nearly enough, as a scandal-weary electorate rallied behind a much-younger challenger who promised honest and ethical leadership.<br /> <br /> D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser defeated Gray in Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary, leaving Gray to serve nine months as a lame duck with potential criminal charges hanging over his head.<br /> <br /> The defining moment of the election occurred three weeks earlier in a courtroom. Federal prosecutors say Gray knew about an illegal $668,000 slush fund that helped him defeat incumbent Adrian Fenty in 2010. Five people involved with his previous campaign have pleaded guilty to felonies and the new allegations surfaced as part of a plea deal for the businessman who provided the illegal funds.<br /> <br /> Gray has denied all wrongdoing and has not been charged with a crime. But his attorney has said he is preparing for a possible indictment, and U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said the charges thus far represent "the tip of the iceberg."<br /> <br /> Bowser pounced on Gray's weakness earlier than most. She launched her campaign little more than halfway through the mayor's term, knocking on doors around the city with a determination similar to Fenty, her political mentor.<br /> <br /> "The status quo is not good enough for us," Bowser told supporters early Wednesday. "We know that we can do better and we know we need a fresh start."<br /> <br /> Her surge to a surprisingly easy victory coincided with the latest developments in the investigation. Incomplete results early Wednesday morning showed Bowser with 44 percent of the vote to 32 percent for Gray.<br /> <br /> Some voters said they backed her over other Gray challengers primarily because they felt she stood the best chance of defeating him.<br /> <br /> "It's too much. We've gone through scandals before in D.C., and we don't need any more," said Rufus Okunubi, 68, a cab driver who backed Gray in 2010, but voted for Bowser this time.<br /> <br /> The Democratic primary winner has gone on to win every mayoral election in the district, where 75 percent of registered voters are Democrats. But Bowser will face a credible challenger this November: independent D.C. Councilmember David Catania, 46, a former Republican who has championed progressive causes since leaving the party in 2004.<br /> <br /> In the days leading up to the primary, Gray focused his campaign on the poor, majority-black sections of the city where he defeated Fenty by huge margins, hoping that his seven challengers would split the vote. He picked up an endorsement from the most successful - and divisive - politician in the city's history, former Mayor Marion Barry, who drew criticism when he said black voters were more open-minded than whites.<br /> <br /> Gray and Bowser are both black. The district has never elected a white mayor in 40 years of self-rule. Catania is white, as were two of Gray's other challengers.<br /> <br /> Many Gray supporters view Machen's office with suspicion and said it was unfair for prosecutors to accuse the mayor of wrongdoing without charging him with a crime. Polls showed Gray with a comfortable lead before the latest developments in the investigation.<br /> <br /> "He cannot convince a jury that Vince Gray is guilty," said Chuck Thies, Gray's campaign manager. "Instead, Ron Machen used propaganda to try Vince Gray in the court of public opinion in the closing weeks of this election."<br /> <br /> Bowser, 41, worked for the local government in suburban Montgomery County, Md., and served as an elected neighborhood commissioner in the district before election to the council in 2007.<br /> <br /> Opponents said Bowser lacks experience to be mayor, saying her legislative record is skimpy. Her most significant accomplishment on the council was the creation of an independent ethics board able to punish officials for violations. The board has found wrongdoing by three members of the 13-person council.<br /> <br /> Gray, 71, led nonprofit organizations and the city's Department of Human Services before he was elected to the D.C. Council in 2004. As mayor, he's been known as a pragmatic, detail-oriented technocrat and sound manager of the city's robust finances. The district has enjoyed a surging population, a booming real estate market and relatively low violent crime.<br /> <br /> Gray becomes the city's second consecutive one-term mayor. As with Fenty, polls showed voters turning against him even as they believe the city is headed in the right direction.<br /> <br /> Turnout for the primary was light, and some voters said they were unimpressed with the slate of candidates. Many observers blamed the unusually early primary date for dampening enthusiasm and making campaigning difficult.<br /> <br /> "I voted for Bowser. I held my nose," said Eugene Gill, 52, a retired city worker. "All of them are terrible."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 2 weeks ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )