Polls Close in DC; Voters Weigh in on Council Races, DC Statehood

WASHINGTON — With the polls closed in D.C., election officials are tallying ballots that will determine whether former Mayor Vince Gray returns to the D.C. Council and whether District voters have approved a measure seeking statehood for the nation’s capital.

See full D.C. election results here

Both outcomes were expected Tuesday.

Despite the presidential drama at the top of the ballot, there were few contested races in D.C. Many longtime public servants were running for re-election — such as D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton — who were expected to cruise to victory.

Gray, who was ousted from the mayor’s office after losing the 2014 Democratic mayoral primary to Muriel Bowser, was running for his old seat representing Ward 7 on the council.

During his four-year term as mayor, Gray was dogged by a federal investigation into his 2010 campaign for mayor. Several aides were charged with felonies in connection with an illegal campaign slush fund, but prosecutors failed to link Gray to any crimes and announced late last year they were closing their investigation.

Voters were also asked to weigh in on a constitution and boundaries for the proposed state of Washington, D.C. The measure was expected to pass handily Tuesday. In a November 2015 Washington Post poll, 71 percent of registered D.C. voters said they supported statehood.

Still, the effort to turn D.C. into a state is far from a done deal. Congress must approve the measure. D.C. leaders have said they plan to press the case for statehood on a new president and new Congress in January, and having a voter-approved constitution is an essential part of that strategy.

Voters were also making their choices for two at-large members of the D.C. Council.

Incumbent David Grosso, an independent who has served on the council since 2013 and chairs the education committee, was seeking re-election to a second term.

Democrat Robert White who defeated longtime council member Vincent Orange in the June Democratic primary, was running for a seat on the council. He’s been serving on the council in an interim capacity since September, after Orange stepped down early amid controversy over a post he’d taken with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.

Both White and Grosso were heavily favored and had spent upwards of $100,000 on their campaigns heading into Tuesday.

A total of six candidates, including Republican Carolina Celnik, were running for the at-large seats.

Three council races on the ballot were uncontested.

Ward 2 council member Jack Evans, who has served on the council since 1991, is running unopposed.

Brandon Todd, who won a 2015 special election to replace Bowser on the council after she won the mayoral race the previous year, is running unopposed for a full term on the council representing Ward 4.

Trayon White is running unopposed in the general election.

Democrat Franklin Garcia is running unopposed for a second term as “shadow” U.S. representative, a largely ceremonial role designed to promote efforts by the District to achieve voting rights in the U.S. Congress.

The post Polls close in DC; voters weigh in on council races, DC statehood appeared first on WTOP.

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