District residents went to the polls Tuesday, April 3, in an election that featured low voter turnout and no major surprises.
D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) survived a scare from former D.C. Council member Sekou Biddle to get the Democratic Party nomination for one of the two at-large seats in November. Unofficial results had Orange at 39 percent with Biddle at 38 percent and Peter Shapiro and E. Gail Anderson Holness, at 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Orange, 54, defeated Biddle last April for the at-large seat to replace Kwame Brown, who was elected D.C. Council Chairman in November 2010.
D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) was re-nominated easily to represent her ward at the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest. She defeated five opponents, Renee Bowser (no relation), Judi Jones, Max Skolnik, Baruti Jahi and Calvin Gurley, getting 65 percent of the vote. Bowser has no formal Republican opposition at this point
Bowser, 39, is viewed by some political observers as a possible 2014 mayoral candidate.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) won re-nomination because he had no opponents.
The status quo for Ward 7 and Ward 8 remained unchanged as both incumbents – Council members Yvette Alexander and Marion Barry retained their seats by comfortable margins.
Alexander, however, emerged victorious after a contentious and bruising battle where contender Tom Brown gained momentum and notable endorsements from business, labor and several of the city's most prominent news publications during the course of the campaign.
"I'm tired. I feel really good but I feel like I was in a 12-round boxing match, but we ended victorious" said Alexander as she slumped into a chair at The Chateaux to savor a meal as well as her hard-earned victory. "I need a good night's sleep. I'm going away to an undisclosed location for a couple of days and then it's back to work."
Late Tuesday, election results indicated that Alexander won by a two-to-one margin, 43 percent to 21 percent.
Dozens of jubilant supporters clad in white Alexander campaign T-shirts laughed and joked and danced well into the night at the establishment which is located on Benning Road in Northeast.
A procession of political heavyweights such as Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), and Kwame Brown (D), as well as Ward 5 hopeful Delano Hunter and Ward 7 GOP candidate Ron Moten, who will represent his party in the November elections, came to offer their congratulations.
Just over the bridge, off Minnesota Avenue, Tom Brown and a mélange of animated, vociferous and clearly excited supporters watched early returns on a large television at Ray's The Steak.
The diverse crowd felt victory at hand and reveled in the prospect of unseating Alexander.
"I've been a Brown supporter for about a year. He has the credibility, respectability and the honesty – all the things we want in a representative," said longtime Ward 7 resident Jeri Washington whose face bore the telltale marks of a day spent in the sun. "His work and work ethic would make him a perfect representative. He's proven that he's a diamond that cuts all other stones."
"I think she took for granted the opportunity and failed to realize her own potential. She failed to fully engage her community."
Brown, 47, strode in the restaurant to a hero's welcome. Once they saw him approach the front door, supporters broke out into loud cheers and sustained applause, rising as one to give him a standing ovation. For several minutes he soaked up the adulation and showed his appreciation by also giving his supporters a warm hand.
"Looks like you're all here for a party!" he said. "This whole experience has been so humbling. It's so surreal to be in an experience like this. I'm humbled by the groundswell of support. People get us. It's never been about Tom Brown. Businesses, unions and all 29 communities in Ward 7 threw their support behind us. They know we can do better."
"I can tell you one thing for sure: I don't know what the results are right now, but we gave them hell!"
Not far from Ray's, Alexander's Chief of Staff J.R. Meyers walked around with a smile.
"Did she run against every [candidate] known to man? She's Wonder Woman," he exulted. "She's a fighter. I mean she was able to respond to the intensity of the attacks."
"Joslyn [Williams] and [DC Chamber President and CEO] Barbara [Lang] came to Ward 7 and held a press conference to say no to Yvette. They decided they wanted to unseat her."
"They marshaled every resource and pushed to beat her but she won."
In the Ward 8 race, the expected level of opposition from challenger Jacque Patterson failed to materialize.
Barry, 76, (D-Ward 8), was never in danger of losing his seat despite strident calls by some in other parts of the city and by many of the city's newspaper outlets to throw him out. He amassed a daunting 73 percent of the vote.
Going into the election, Patterson, 41, considered himself the person best able to beat Barry, who is a four-time mayor and who ran for his seat, seeking his third term. Barry is widely regarded in his majority-black ward as the guardian of the neglected and underprivileged and he relishes that role.
Perhaps the most dramatic news of the night came when Cora Masters-Barry told ABC 7's Sam Ford that this would be Barry's last election.
In other races, former ANC Commissioner Mary Brooks Beatty won the Republican Party primary and will try to get one of the two at-large seats on the D.C. Council in the Nov. 6 general election.
President Barack Obama had no opposition in his bid for re-election in the District and in Maryland. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the District and Maryland handily and will pick up all of the District's delegates and the overwhelming majority of Maryland's.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had no opposition in her bid for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Norton is set to face Natale Stracuzzi of the Statehood Green Party in the general election.
U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) had no trouble defeating two opponents for re-nomination to the House. She faces an unknown Republican opponent in the heavily Democratic district.
U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin won his nomination race but not without a spirited fight from Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George's County). Muse did well in Prince George's County and Baltimore City, but Cardin, 68, took the rest of the state with the advantages of incumbency, money and organization.
Cardin won the primary 73 percent to 17 percent for Muse. He faces an unknown Republican candidate in the November general election.