The Write Stuff

Fenty wins GOP primary on write-ins

By P.J. Orvetti
|  Friday, Sep 17, 2010  |  Updated 8:16 AM EDT
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Everybody Wins in D.C. Mayoral Primary

NBCWashington.com

Mayor Adrian Fenty votes on Primary Day.

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It turns out Adrian Fenty did win the D.C. mayoral primary on Tuesday -- just not the one he had expected.

D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Public Affairs Manager Alysoun McLaughlin, who has forgotten what sleep is after the past week, announced at the crack of 3 a.m. today that Fenty had received 822 write-in votes in the Republican primary, enough to make him the GOP winner. Fenty has until 4:45 p.m. today to claim the prize, at which point I assume the hard-working DCBOEE crew will lock up for the weekend and go have a stiff drink.

Fenty actually got more votes in the Republican primary than Leo Alexander and two other also-rans received in the Democratic race. But Fenty offered an enthusiastic and seemingly sincere endorsement to Democratic nominee Vincent Gray yesterday, so it looks like the Republican prize will go unclaimed. (Faith claimed the Statehood-Green nomination after no write-in candidate topped her 189 votes; several other minor party and independent candidates will also face Gray in November.)

Fenty just can’t catch a break this week. On the evening after his defeat, NBC Nightly News ran a long story about how D.C. voters had ousted ... Michelle Rhee.

“While it was just a city mayor’s race,” Brian Williams said, the result “was heard across the country by those who follow education reform.”

In an editorial this morning, the New York Times amplifies the “Rhee equals reform” meme, suggesting that the defeat of the Rhee/Fenty ticket could throw D.C. schools into a tailspin.

But someone’s thinking about Fenty’s hurt feelings. Fenty Ward 3 coordinator Andrew del Junco sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to keep their Fenty signs up on their lawns not just through November, but until the end of Fenty’s term in January.

“Mayor Fenty has been the Mayor that DC deserves, and he still needs our support,” del Junco wrote. “Together we can remind him that he inspired a grassroots movement of amazing individuals across the city; and we will never forget all that he has done, and will continue to do for us.”

In other election aftermath news, Washington City Paper looks at one of the biggest losers of the campaign: the National Organization for Marriage. The group, which opposes same-sex marriage, backed several candidates, all of whom were crushed Tuesday. Delegate candidate Douglass Sloan took just 9 percent of the vote, while Alexander got just 0.7 percent in his mayoral campaign. The most visible NOM-backed candidate was Ward 5’s Delano Hunter, who also received a much-criticized Washington Post endorsement. Hunter won just 19 percent in his race.

Mike Panetta, who was nominated for a third term as shadow representative by a comfortable margin, thanked his rival Nate Bennett-Fleming “for running a fantastic campaign and for raising the profile” of the post. Panetta said Bennett-Fleming “is one of the most passionate and hard-working people in the quest for D.C. statehood, and I hope he’ll stay involved.”

The Washington Post makes the interesting observation that Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser was conspicuously left off big-screen projections of photographs of Gray and other Council members at a big party thrown by the D.C. Council Wednesday night. Bowser was at the party, but she was the victim of what some saw as a “deliberate snub.” Bowser was a firm Fenty supporter in Fenty’s old ward -- which Gray won with 60 percent of the vote Tuesday. Bowser could be in trouble in 2012.

One guy who’s not in trouble is Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells. He was easily renominated this week, and while he faces Republican Jim DeMartino in November, Wells doesn’t seem worried.

After Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert announced dueling rallies to be held just three days before the general election, Wells quickly said he’d be there, not on the campaign trail. “Planning to attend rally on the Mall 10-30-10,” he tweeted. “It’s for normal people.”

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