- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Incumbents won a convincing victory last night in five D.C. Council races in which they hoped voters would give them more time to fix the city's long-entrenched problems.
The incumbents faced weak challenges in wards 2, 7 and 8 as well as in two at-large races.
In Ward 4, Democrat Adrian Fenty, 29, who ousted 21-year incumbent Charlene Drew Jarvis in the September primary, won a whopping 90 percent of the vote over Renee Bowser, 51, of the D.C. Statehood Green Party.
The tough fight expected by incumbent Harold Brazil, the at-large Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for mayor two years ago, did not materialize.
With all ballots counted, Mr. Brazil led with 49 percent of the vote, followed by another incumbent, Republican Carol Schwartz, with 32 percent, in the race for two at-large seats.
As the top two vote-getters, they beat back four opponents to win the at-large seats.
Mr. Brazil, 51, and Mrs. Schwartz, 56, faced the Statehood Green Party's Arturo Griffiths, 51, who won a surprising 11 percent of the vote, Independent Daphne McBryde, 37; Libertarian Matt Mercurio, 30; and Independent Chris Ray, 40.
"I think we've all done pretty well. I think [the voters] have given us a vote of confidence. We're at the helm and the ship is going in the right direction," Mr. Brazil said at a victory party at the Mayflower Hotel attended by Democratic victors.
Mrs. Schwartz, the lone Republican in the field, held her party at the more folksy Sholl's Cafeteria in downtown. She said it's tough being a Republican in a Democratic town and had to campaign hard over the last five-months.
"The voters are showing they like the team that we have," said Mrs. Schwartz. She called the present council more hard-working and innovative than any council she has served on since the late 1980s.
Final though still unofficial results paint a satisfying picture for those returned to office.
Jack Evans, 47, Ward 2 Democrat, won 81 percent of the vote in his win over Tom Briggs, 40, of the D.C. Statehood Green Party.
Kevin P. Chavous, 44, Ward 7 Democrat, led with 87 percent over Republican rival Johnnie Scott Rice, 59, in a bid for a third term.
Sandy Allen, 57, Ward 8 Democrat, tallied 91 percent in her victory over last-minute challenger, write-in candidate Sandra Seegars, 49, whom she had defeated in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.
Seats in wards 1, 3, 5 and 6 wards were not up in this year's election.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, notched another easy victory over three challengers to win a sixth term as the city's nonvoting representative in Congress. Mrs. Norton captured 90 percent of the vote, posting the kind of hefty lead she held in past elections.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams congratulated the winners and said he looks forward to working with the returning council members and Mrs. Norton. He also welcomed Mr. Fenty to the council's overwhelmingly Democratic majority.
Incumbents were helped by difficulties encountered by the challengers in getting out their messages to the city's 165,000 registered voters. The challengers had little money to spend, and many voters were preoccupied by the presidential race.
Turnout was high, not surprising for a year in which council races and a presidential contest coincide.
"There were a horrendous number of people here, maybe 500 people in line here at 8:30. The line went out the door, 'round the corner and into the parking lot," said Karen Teemer, 50, a Web designer who voted at Guy Mason Recreation Center in Ward 3. Slides and swings were filled with shrieking children as moms and dads voted inside.
In 1996, 52 percent of the city's 361,419 eligible voters cast ballots; 40 percent voted in the 1998 non-presidential elections.
The city's 354,410 registered voters include 271,380 Democrats and 26,485 Republicans. The remaining voters are unaffiliated or identify with small, single-issue parties.
The council incumbents supported each other from the campaign's start, saying political scandals, unsafe schools and financial mismanagement were becoming a thing of the past under their watch. They essentially told voters, "It's getting fixed, so don't break it" by unseating current members.
Mr. Evans, completing his second full term, is chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. He won points with voters last year by pushing Mr. Williams for a tax cut after unsuccessfully challenging Mr. Williams in the Democratic race for mayor.
Mr. Chavous, chairman of the Education, Libraries and Recreation Committee, was first elected in 1992 after winning a door-to-door campaign against fellow Democrat and longtime council member H.R. Crawford. He, too, lost to Mr. Williams in the Democratic primary for mayor.
Miss Allen, seeking a second term, is chairman of the Human Services Committee. Miss Seegars, her challenger, is a member of the D.C. Taxicab Commission.
Mr. Brazil's challengers pounded away with the theme, "What has Brazil done?"
The strongest competitors for he and Mrs. Schwartz appeared to be Ms. McBryde, a former program officer for the D.C. financial control board, and Mr. Griffiths, an activist who works at the Center for Community Change.
Ms. McBryde stressed preventing youth violence, improving public schools, improving services to neighborhoods and making D.C. General Hospital more of a full-service medical center.
A self-described "Afro-Latino," Mr. Griffiths was born in Panama and immigrated to Washington in 1964 with his family. He targeted Hispanics and campaigned for affordable housing, health care and improved parks and schools.
Mr. Mercurio entered the at-large race after the council passed bills last summer imposing stiffer penalties for marijuana possession.
Mr. Mercurio's posted purple-and-white "Stop the War on Drugs" signs throughout the city. That war hasn't produced results, he argued, and drained resources from services such as education.
The fourth at-large candidate, Mr. Ray, is a bricklayer who proposed that the city improve relations with labor by making progress on a "living wage" and improving services for the elderly, young and handicapped residents.
Most incumbent council members have enough seniority to earn maximum salaries of $92,530 if re-elected. Freshman council members get $80,605 a year.

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