Mayor Muriel Bowser is facing the prospect of a more rigid D.C. Council after primary elections ousted three of her allies, potentially threatening her legacy and chances for a second term.
Former Mayor Vincent Gray enjoyed a political comeback in the primary, retaking his old Council seat from Yvette Alexander, a steadfast supporter of Bowser’s agenda. The Council victory is stirring rumors Gray may make another mayoral bid in 2018, something he is not ruling out. Gray’s chances for a second term derailed amid a 2010 campaign finance scandal, making way for Bowser to fill the position, reports The Washington Post.
As a high profile and vocal critic of Bowser, Gray could prove to be a big headache for the mayor as she heads into the second half of her term. Two other incumbent Bowser allies in the D.C. Council primaries also lost their races, despite a last minute get out the vote push from Bowser herself. (RELATED: Former DC Mayor Who Dodged Corruption Charges Retakes Council Seat)
Political novice Robert White defeated Vincent Orange, a political fixture in D.C., in the at-large Council race. LaRuby May lost her seat to Trayon White, a former staffer for D.C.’s attorney general Karl Racine. Gray gave White his full support in the race and recorded a robocall for his campaign on primary day, reports The Washington Times.
“I hope we’ll be a more deliberative body with more independent thinking,” David Grosso, an independent in the Council, told The Washington Times. “Independent of the mayor, but also more thoughtful and engaged on the issues for the right reasons.”
Bowser is already struggling to secure legislative victories for some of her key agenda items. The Council failed to vote on the mayor’s tough crime reform package last fall, and voted down a bill backed by Bowser in January increasing criminal penalties on public transit. The largest blow to Bowser’s policy agenda is the recent defeat of her plan to close D.C. General Hospital, currently the city’s only public homeless shelter, by a deadline of 2018.
Bowser reluctantly approved the Council’s version, despite unleashing on Council Chairman Phil Mendelson in May for rewriting her proposal and jeopardizing the 2018 deadline. Despite the rough primary day Bowser said she is hopeful for the city, arguing the Council will still share her overall vision for the District.
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