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Incumbents Safe But Ward 7 Nomination Up in Air

The incumbents up for renomination in the Democratic primaries June 4 retained their offices. But the race to watch, for Democratic nominee to represent Ward 7 on DC Council, remained too close to call as of Wednesday morning.

The General Election takes place Nov. 5. DC is largely a blue city, so primary elections often function as the main event.

As of 10:22 p.m., the DC Board of Elections had counted just under 74,000 votes, about 19.5 percent of eligible voters in the District. For comparison, 28 percent of eligible voters participated in the 2020 primaries.

The race that could hang in the balance in Ward 7, where Wendell Felder leads Ebony Payne by 273 votes; Eboni Rose Thompson only trails Felder by 342. That could change significantly as the mail-in ballots come in; the DC Board of Elections will count all ballots postmarked by June 4.

According to DC Code, an automatic recount is triggered when the certified results indicate a margin of victory for a candidate that is less than one percent of the total votes cast for the office. So far, 10,000 votes have been cast in Ward 7.

20.2 percent of the 50,307 registered voters have so far had ballots counted in what was described as a generational race.

Ward 7 was expanded during the 2020 redistricting process, pushed west to 15th Street. Ward 8 gained Navy Yard. The 2024 election is the first to select a representative for the new cross-river wards since redistricting. Payne is a resident of Kingman Park; it is unclear if or how large a role west of the river voters played in Payne’s placement. Welder, meanwhile, was the only candidate of a total of ten on the ballot for Ward 7 councilmember to be endorsed by incumbent Councilmember Vince Gray (D).

The addition of Navy Yard to Ward 8 does not seem to have affected the incumbent. Only Just over 14 percent of eligible voters came out from Ward 8, where Trayon White Sr. earned the nomination again with more than half eligible votes cast, despite a strong campaign from ANC Commissioner Salim Adofo and former Ballou Principal Rahman Brance, who took 27 and 19 percent of votes respectively.

There was a higher turnout in Ward 3, where more than 24 percent of voters turned up at the polls to vote despite the fact that the Ward 3 seat on DC Council, now occupied by Matt Frumin, will not be up again until 2026. In Ward 4, Janeese Lewis George was renominated with 66 percent of the vote, despite a challenge from Lisa Gore; nearly 27 percent of the electorate showed up to cast their ballots. The race centered on public safety, with former ANC and DCHD police officer Gore positioning herself as —if not hard on crime, more moderate than the left-leaning George.

Citywide, incumbent Robert White is the Democratic At-Large Council nominee for a third election, winning over entertainer Rodney Red Grant; both were contenders in the 2022 mayoral election, which was won by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Eleanor Holmes Norton will be the Democratic nominee, having won nearly 80 percent of the vote despite a challenge from Kelly “Mikel” Williams. A close race for the nomination for Senator between Eugene D. Kinlow and Ankit Jain ended with Jain victorious; he got 50.4 percent of the vote, nearly a 2,000 vote lead on Kinlow. And incumbent One Owolewa again won the nomination for United States Representative, edging out Linda L. Gray by more than 7,0000 votes.

DC Board of Elections (DC BOE) did not immediately respond to queries; this story will be updated when a response is received.

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