- The Washington Times - Monday, August 26, 2002

The Sept. 10 Democratic primary could be the last "hurrah" for incumbent Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who is running as a write-in candidate.
He is facing a "serious" challenger in the Rev. Willie F. Wilson, a Baptist minister who also is running as a write-in. The two candidates have little more than two weeks to convince a simple majority to write in their names on the ballot. Both are vigorously campaigning throughout the city with the highest stakes in mind.
The primary election for the mayor's seat is essentially a guarantee of victory in the general election. More than 80 percent of D.C. voters are registered as Democrats.
The winner of the primary has won the general election for mayor every time since the founding of home rule in 1974.
"In my 30 years practicing politics in this city, when that [Democratic] primary winner comes through, it is all over," said Norman Neverson, chairman of the District's Democratic Party.
The all-or-nothing fight that Mr. Williams is undertaking may also be hampered by the Rev. Douglas E. Moore, Mr. Neverson pointed out.
Mr. Moore is a former D.C. Council member who served on the first city council and a self-made millionaire businessman. He has proven to be a formidable Democratic candidate for mayor, if for no other reason than that he is on the ballot.
Unlike in the 1998 mayoral race, there is no Republican candidate.
But both Johnny Barnes and Robert Moore are vying for the seat as independents in the general election.
"I don't see an independent laying a hand on Tony Williams, Willie Wilson or Doug Moore," Mr. Neverson said.
Mr. Williams carried Wards 1, 2, 3 and 6 easily in the September 1998 primary election compared with his toughest opponent, council member Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat, according to voting records from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
Mr. Williams held on to Ward 4 the most populated ward with the largest number of registered voters in a squeaker by only 258 votes.
And he was trounced by Mr. Chavous in Wards 5, 7 and 8.
The incumbent mayor's support base hasn't changed much in the last four years.
Mr. Wilson will have to tap into the lack of support for Mr. Williams in Wards 7 and 8 and hope to steal Ward 4 to have a chance in the primary.
Mr. Wilson received the endorsement of council member Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Democrat, on Friday. She said she was doing what she feels is right.
"District residents should look over the last four years and search their consciences and do the right thing," Mrs. Allen said.
But Mr. Moore because write-in candidates could not participate won the endorsement of the Ward 8 Democrats, and has been slowly gaining support there, said Philip Pannell, president of the Ward 8 Democrats.
Mr. Williams, meanwhile, received the endorsement of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Board President Bob Peck said the residents should look to the improvement in the District's credit rating, as well as the dissolving of the Control Board as reasons to re-elect Mr. Williams.
The trade board also endorsed Mr. Williams in his first run for mayor in 1998.
The September primary, long considered a lock for the incumbent, was thrown open when the Board of Elections and Ethics tossed the mayor's name off the ballot after his campaign falsified signatures on nominating petitions.
In addition to Mr. Moore, Osie L. Thorpe, who ran for mayor in 1998; Faith, 78, a dancer and arts coordinator making her sixth bid for the seat; and James W. Clark, 62, a former corrections supervisor, will also appear on the ballot.

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