- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2000

Longtime District of Columbia Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis of Ward 4 was defeated in her re-election bid yesterday by neighborhood activist Adrian Fenty, losing the Democratic nomination for her seat in the city's primary elections.

With all the ward's 19 precincts reporting, Mr. Fenty had 7,859 votes, or 57 percent, compared with the five-term council member's 5,905 votes, or 43 percent.

"The voters were ready for a change," Mr. Fenty said last night. "You don't have to have a lot of experience. You just have to be ready to do the work. We will make sure in the next four years that we earn that vote. We will work hard to improve constituent services."

"It was an awfully good run. We made an awful lot of progress in this city," Mrs. Jarvis said. "I've had a wonderful 21 years. We've seen a whole cycle of recession and recovery and most public officials don't get a chance to live through that."

In other D.C. races, with all precincts reporting:

• Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, had 3,127 votes, or 66 percent, easily outdistancing closest challenger John Fanning, who had 839 votes, or 18 percent.

• Council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, had 2,828 votes, or 53 percent, defeating nearest rival Robert B. Hunter, who had 1,779 votes, or 34 percent.

• Council member Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Democrat, had 2,203 votes, or 71 percent, to defeat challenger Sandra Seegars, with 610 votes or 19.5 percent.

Mr. Fenty's populist campaign swept through Ward 4. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission member's green campaign signs seemed to be planted in yards on every corner of the ward.

Last night at Fenty headquarters on Georgia Avenue, in the northern part of Ward 4, about 200 supporters spilled into the street cheering and dancing while passing motorists honked their horns.

The supporters, who represented a wide range of ages, occupations and races, began pouring celebratory champagne even before the race had been called.

"The early returns are looking good. I am encouraged and hopeful," Mr. Fenty said.

"This is just great. We worked extremely hard and it's time for a change in the ward," resident Clinton LeSueur said. "After 21 years, it's easy for people to become complacent. But we need full-blown representation with all that's going on with Fenty we'll get it."

"Here, we don't have a sit-down restaurant or bookstore we can go to. We don't have basic things," said Paul McKenzie, a federal government employee. "I saw [Mrs. Jarvis] not working on these important quality-of-life issues. That's why I support Fenty."

The strength of the Fenty campaign spurred Mrs. Jarvis into pulling months of political support from Mayor Anthony A. Williams, with several large-scale plans for development along the Georgia Avenue corridor.

That support included a $111 million initiative that will bring the city's Department of Motor Vehicles to the ward. Mr. Williams also made several visits, including a walking tour of future development with Mrs. Jarvis last week.

Mrs. Jarvis, the council's longest-serving member, heads its committee on economic development and is the council's chairman pro tempore. Mrs. Jarvis, president of Southeastern University, has been a member of the council since 1979.

"We're waiting to see the last boxes, but you know we're having a party," Mrs. Jarvis said at her headquarters at Curtis Chevrolet at 6000 Georgia Ave. NW.

The veteran council member hugged old friends and danced among about 200 supporters last night. All appeared upbeat.

Mrs. Jarvis "said she wasn't ready to pass the baton, so we had to take it away," said Fenty supporter Walker Jones, 52, a union leader. Mr. Fenty "brought the whole gamut of Ward 4 together, white, black and every economic class."

In 1998, Mr. Fenty entered city politics by working on Mr. Chavous' unsuccessful mayoral bid. The same year, Mr. Fenty won his first elected office as an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

In his first bid for the D.C. Council, Mr. Fenty ran on a platform of returning attention to ward business.

"Voters are always saying they want a full-time council member," he said. "My opponent is a full-time employee of Southeastern University and a part-time council member. I am ready to devote myself to ward business full time.

"Besides, turnover breeds accountability," he added.

Council incumbents campaigned on the city's financial upswing after the near-collapse in the mid-1990s. They touted four balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility, tax cuts and the imminent dissolution of the congressionally mandated D.C. financial control board.

"The city is doing remarkably better than four years ago," said Mr. Evans of Ward 2, who pushed for a tax cut passed by the council last year.

Mr. Evans faced challenges from Pete Ross, who owns a furniture-making business in Northeast; Mr. Fanning, 37, a marketing director who worked as ombudsman to the mayor's office for Ward 2, starting in 1995; and Ray Avrutis, 52, a self-employed author.

Democratic incumbents east of the Anacostia River Mrs. Allen and Mr. Chavous also faced several challengers.

Mr. Chavous vied against Durand A. Ford, Gary R. Feenster, Mr. Hunter and Mary D. Jackson.

Mrs. Allen was opposed by Winifred Freeman; Ms. Seegars, a D.C. taxicab commissioner and community watchdog; and Dion Jordan, who studies political science at the University of the District of Columbia and was the Ward 8 coordinator for Mr. Williams' 1998 mayoral run.

Miss Seegars was making her second bid for the Ward 8 seat. Like others in her ward, she has been working for years to lure a grocery store and promised not to "lose touch with the community."

All of the Ward 8 candidates spoke out for better services, including cleaner and safer streets, removal of abandoned cars and nuisance properties, and street repairs.

The two at-large incumbents Republican Carol Schwartz and Democrat Harold Brazil faced no opponents in their primaries.

Mr. Brazil, celebrating last night at Tunnicliffs restaurant, said he was "ecstatic" about the results. He said he and his staff waged a "front-loaded campaign" focusing on the council's successes, noting that he began campaigning about a 1* years ago.

Former Mayor Marion Barry had considered running for Mr. Brazil's seat before deciding this summer not to enter the race.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide