By 10:15 p.m., all 143 precincts had been unofficially counted in the 2018 District Primary Elections. The speedy conclusion to the vote count might be the result of a low voter turnout. According to the District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE), only 17.62% of eligible voters citywide cast a ballot. In Ward 6, turnout was 20.86%.
The seemingly complacent turnout was reflected in the results. Despite a close race for Shadow Senator, all the incumbent Democratic candidates won nominations.
With no major challenger, Mayor Muriel Bowser handily won the nomination with 79.83% of the vote, or 58,431 votes; the next closest candidate, James Butler secured 7,532 votes.
With 57,298 ballots cast in her favor, amounting to 76.16% of the vote, Delegate to the House of Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton secured the nomination, and is poised for her 15th term. 17,438 votes were cast for challenger Kim Ford.
Attorney General Karl Racine and Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh both won nominations, facing no challengers.
All of the other DC Councilmembers retained the nomination of the Democratic Party. Nominations for two Council seats that called early in the night were those for Ward 1 held by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie (69.03% of vote) and the At-Large seat held by Councilmember Anita Bonds, who received 52.04% of the vote despite significant challenges from Marcus Goodwin and Jeremiah Lowry.
The contests to watch were the Ward 6 contest between incumbent Charles Allen (Ward 6) and challenger Lisa Hunter, the challenge by Ed Lazare to incumbent Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and the Shadow Senator race. Both Council incumbents won the nomination, with Allen getting 68.17% of the vote and Mendelson 62.37%. Allen won every precinct in his ward.
Allen faces Republican challenger Michael Bekesha in November. Bekesha received 91.43% of the vote and faced no challengers for the nomination. He is the only Republican running for a Council seat.
The last council seat to be called was Ward 1, where incumbent Brianne Nadeau won the nomination with 47.92% of the vote, coming out ahead of three challengers.
The Shadow Senate race between incumbent Michael D. Brown and challenger Andria Thomas was the last race to be called. Brown won the seat with 51.04% of the vote, a margin of 2,446 votes.
The hotly contested vote was on Initiative 77. 55.14% of District voters said yes to the initiative, a difference of 8,263. If adopted, the initiative will gradually increase the minimum wage in the District of Columbia to $15 hourly by 2020 and beginning in 2021 will require minimum wage to increase yearly in proportion to increases in the consumer price index.
It would also gradually increase the minimum wage for tipped employees so that they receive the same minimum wage directly from their employer as other employees by 2026.
The DCBOE map shows support for Initiative 77 was highest in Wards 5, 7 and 8, where many of the District’s black voters live. Wards 2 and 3 each voted just over 50% against the initiative. The vote is also broken down by precinct; the most no votes came from Precinct 5 in Georgetown, with 63.8% voting ‘no’. The highest number of ‘yes’ votes came from Precinct 107 near Fort Dupont and Greenway, which voted 84.4% ‘yes’.
While voters came out strongly in favor of the initiative, Councilmembers were less definite. The Mayor and Council could still choose to repeal the law or modify the terms.