By C.N. Staff Writer
Muriel Bowser wins the race for Mayor of the District of Columbia! On Tuesday November 4, 2014 Bowser took home the victory, winning over 53 percent of the vote. On election night Bowser said, “Most importantly I want to thank all the residents of D.C. who voted for me.” She said her work is not done, but rather is just beginning and vowed to work hard as the District’s top elected official.
Bowser announced her candidacy on March 23, 2013, long before other candidates considered joining the race for mayor. She said she got an early start because she knew she would have to work hard to win over voters in “#All8Wards” across the city.
Bowser beat out Republican-turned-Independent candidate Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large) and former Republican Councilmember, Carol Schwartz, who ran as an Independent. Catania and Schwartz entered the race after Bowser won the Democratic Primary on April 1st. In the weeks before Election Day, Catania trailed Bowser in the polls somewhere between 4 and 17 points and Schwartz followed by 7 points. Bowser demonstrated she could ride the wave of the uncertain political electorate of District voters.
While turnout in the primary was low, with only 72,908 people voting, ballots cast during the early vote period totaled more than 25,000 people .
Bowser, 42, worked for the local government in suburban Montgomery County, MD, and has served as the Ward 4 Councilmember since 2007, when she was elected in a special election to fill former Mayor Adrian Fenty’s seat. Before serving as the councilmember she served as an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC).
Bowser was considered an underdog in the race, not well known outside of her home Ward 4. She began taking her message across each ward working hard to win over voters. Strategically she set up small teams in each ward, first tasked with building momentum and support and eventually tackling the upcoming ward and or civic association straw polls. She won her first major straw poll in Ward 8, beating out incumbent Mayor Gray in his backyard. This was a major milestone for Bowser who showed, by the win, that she could connect with voters East of the Anacostia River, and showed she could begin to move in on Gray’s stronghold.
From there her momentum began to pick up and again she won another major straw poll in Ward 4. With that win she had shown that she is not just a one-ward candidate, but a viable contender for the city’s top job- Mayor of the District of Columbia! With the Washington Post’s endorsement, Bowser was well on her way to winning the primary election- and she did with 43 percent of the vote!
In late September, ahead of the first post-primary mayoral debate, Bowser released her platform and vision for the city. In it she lays out several new initiatives she will tackle, i.e. new plans for public safety and transportation, re-addressing the school boundaries discussion and implementing an affordable housing plan. As Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, she authored legislation dedicating no less than $100 million per year to the production of new affordable housing units and co-authored a bill mandating that 30% of all new residential units become affordable.
Her opponents have said that she lacks the necessary experience to hold the District’s highest seat, citing her thin legislative record. However, her supporters highlight, what they consider her most significant accomplishment on the council, creating the independent ethics board, which is able to punish officials for violations. Since its inception, the board has found wrongdoing by three members of the 13-person council.
Over the summer Bowser picked up several key endorsements from local labor groups and the coveted endorsement from President Barack Obama. In a statement released by her campaign President Obama said, “As we continue our efforts to move our country’s economy forward, I know I’ll be able to count on Muriel to expand opportunity for all. That’s why I’m asking for you to vote for her in the general election this November.” She also received endorsements from seven (7) of her colleagues on the Council-Yvette Alexander [D-Ward 7], Marion Barry [D-Ward 8], Anita Bonds [D-At-Large], Jack Evans [D-Ward 2], Kenyan McDuffie [D-Ward 5], Vincent Orange [D-At-Large] and Tommy Wells [D-Ward 6].
Beyond her endorsements Bowser raised the most money than any candidate in the race. Entering Election Day she had the best financial advantage, with at least $300,000 cash on hand. Bowser reported $32,351 in contributions in daily finance reports filed to the Office of Campaign Finance since last Tuesday, while Catania brought in $10,220. Candidate Carol Schwartz didn’t file any daily reports, which are required in the last eight days before the election for any contributions over $200.
In its October edition, the Capital News declared Bowser as the “clear choice for Mayor” and on Tuesday November 4th the choice was made. Muriel Bower Mayor of the District of Columbia.