- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

The two write-in candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the D.C. mayoral race continued to campaign hard yesterday, hitting multiple neighborhoods across the city in the final week of campaigning before the Sept. 10 primary.
Despite the rain, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams took tours of Northwest, Northeast and Southwest neighborhoods yesterday, stopping at Eastern Market and the Southwest waterfront.
Dozens of supporters greeted him with cheers, handshakes and hugs.
"We have to get out there and get out the vote and spread the message," Mr. Williams told supporters. "If we do, we will win big and be given a mandate to continue moving the city forward."
The Rev. Willie Wilson, his suit soaked as he zigzagged through the city, spent most of his day in Northeast and Southeast neighborhoods, where he said he picked up hundreds more volunteers.
"I am getting a tremendous response everywhere I go," he said. "It is exciting to see people this excited. I am confident I am going to win."
As the candidates moved into the final week of campaigning before the primary, both downplayed the results of a poll released by The Washington Post this past weekend showing Mr. Williams far ahead of Mr. Wilson and the other four candidates on the Democratic ballot.
"No matter how one slices it or dices it, it shows that people recognize the progress we have made in the city," the incumbent said. "But beware of the poll if it lulls anyone into complacency. We have to continue to work hard. One thing I have learned is not to take anything for granted."
Mr. Wilson dismissed the poll's findings altogether.
"All I know is that poll does not reflect what is happening out here in the communities," Mr. Wilson said. "I'm not worried. I know what I feel out here."
Mr. Wilson, the pastor at Union Temple Baptist Church in Southeast, is married to Mary Wilson, who is handling church services while her husband campaigns.
Mr. Wilson was greeted by dozens of supporters at churches and restaurants around the city yesterday and continued to praise former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who endorsed his candidacy last week.
Mr. Wilson said yesterday he believes that endorsement has already brought out more supporters.
One of them was Lavinia Angolan, 29, a federal employee who says she is thinking about moving to Prince George's County because she can't afford to buy a house in the District.
"I didn't vote four years ago, and that was the biggest mistake of my life," she said.
"Now I know my vote counts. Since the last election, affordable housing has decreased; the mayor closed D.C. General and the schools continue to be terrible. He is leaving people like me behind."
But Sandy Tallant, 46, of Capitol Hill said she voted for Mr. Williams in the 1998 election and will do so again.
"He brought credibility to the finances and politics of this city," she said. "This is the capital city and should be a model, but it used to be a laughingstock. I believe in him. He is the best man for the job."
Before hitting the streets yesterday morning, three of the six candidates appeared on a WRC-TV candidates forum and spoke about education, health care and affordable housing.
Former D.C. Council member Douglas Moore and Mr. Wilson criticized Mr. Williams for a lack of affordable housing and pushed for a freeze on rents in the city.
Mr. Williams countered that he supports rent control but would prefer to build more affordable housing.
Mr. Moore said he would restore the elected school board after a Williams' initiative two years ago installed a hybrid board.
Mr. Wilson wants to offer D.C. children vocational training.
Mr. Williams highlighted the increased funding for the University of the District of Columbia during his tenure.
Mr. Wilson, who has a large base of support east of the Anacostia River, criticized the mayor for closing D.C. General Hospital, but Mr. Williams defended his initiative, saying that neighborhood residents can still use the facility and receive trauma care at nearby hospitals.
James Clark, Osie Thorpe and a candidate known simply as Faith are also on the ballot, but didn't appear at the televised forum.

This article is based in part on wire reports.



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