- The Washington Times - Monday, September 13, 2004

D.C. Democratic officials expect a record turnout for today’s primary elections, which will decide hard-fought city council races.

“Those races, coupled with the party’s substantial voter outreach and get-out-the-vote effort, … lends itself to expectations of higher turnout,” said A. Scott Bolden, chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee.

According to statistics from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, 37,395 of the city’s 260,701 registered Democrats — 14.3 percent — went to the polls for the 2000 primary.

Mr. Bolden declined to predict exactly how high turnout would be today, but said he believes it will top 15 percent.

Polls will be open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Democratic incumbents face strong challengers in three races, but council members Jack Evans in Ward 2 and Adrian M. Fenty in Ward 4 are running unopposed. Jay Houston Marx, a consultant, is running unopposed in the Green Party primary in Ward 2.

One of the most closely watched contests is in Ward 8, where former Mayor Marion S. Barry is seeking a political comeback by challenging D.C. Council member Sandy Allen.

Mr. Barry, who spent six months in federal prison after a cocaine arrest in 1990, enjoys folk-hero status that could propel him to victory, even though his war chest has $31,607, compared with the $100,000 Miss Allen has raised.

Also vying for the Ward 8 seat: school board member William O. Lockridge, former city health official Jacque D. Patterson, real property manager R. Joyce Scott and “S.S.” Sandra Seegars, an advisory neighborhood commissioner. Cardell Shelton, a building contractor, is running in the Republican primary for the seat.

In Ward 7, council member Kevin P. Chavous is seeking to fend off a challenge from Vincent C. Gray, executive director of Covenant House Washington, who served as the director of the Department of Human Services under Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.

Mr. Gray’s campaign raised $66,146, compared to Mr. Chavous’ $138,849.

Also competing for Mr. Chavous’ seat: former teacher’s aide Donna E. Daniels, retired computer specialist Mary D. Jackson, private investigator James Johnson and Mia Hariston-Hamilton, an information specialist for a health maintenance organization. Businessman Jerod Tolson is running in the Republican primary, and teaching consultant Michele Tingling-Clemmons is seeking the Green Party nomination.

Council member Harold P. Brazil faces stiff competition for his at-large seat from Kwame R. Brown, president of the Maryland/D.C. Minority Supplier Development Council.

Mr. Brown raised $136,171, compared to Mr. Brazil’s $535,350, according to the latest financial reports to the Office of Campaign Finance.

Mr. Brazil’s campaign said it is taking Mr. Brown’s candidacy seriously, but has not focused on the other Democratic challenger, Sam Brooks, an Internet business owner who has raised about $35,000.

In the Republican primary, at-large council member Carol Schwartz is considered relatively safe in defending against challenges from community activist Robert Pittman and real estate agent Don Folden Sr.

Mrs. Schwartz has raised $74,622, and Mr. Pittman about $200, according to campaign finance reports. Mr. Folden did not file any financial disclosures because he did not spend more than $500 campaigning.

Laurent Ross, a savings account manager, is running in the Green Party primary for an at-large seat.

Democrats account for nearly 90 percent of the city’s electorate, so Democratic primary winners are virtually assured victory in the general election.

For the at-large council seats, one candidate from each party will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot. The two with the most votes win the seats.

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