- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Former D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry last night defeated D.C. council member Sandy Allen for her Ward 8 seat, staging a political comeback in a Democratic primary that saw two other council incumbents lose their seats to political newcomers.

With about half of the Ward 8 precincts reporting, Mr. Barry had 2,413 votes, or 61 percent, and Miss Allen had 902 votes, or 23 percent.

“First of all, let me thank God,” Mr. Barry said at the victory party at his headquarters in Southeast. “There’s a new Ward 8 a’ coming. … I’ve given service to this community, my brain power, my energy.”

Democratic council member Kevin P. Chavous lost his re-election bid in Ward 7 to Vincent C. Gray, executive director of Covenant House Washington and the director of the Department of Human Services under Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.

With 54 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Gray had 1,862 votes, or 50 percent, and Mr. Chavous had 1,219 votes, or 33 percent.

Harold Brazil lost his at-large seat to Kwame R. Brown, president of the Maryland-D.C. Minority Supplier Development Council. With 62 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Brown had 13,283 votes, or 53 percent, and Mr. Brazil had 8,153 votes, or 32 percent.

Problems were reported with some of the voting machines. The District uses touch-screen machines and optical scanners that read paper ballots. However, there were no results from the touch screens more than three hours after the polls closed.

Linda Green, Barry campaign manager, said there were problems with voting machines at four of the 16 precinct polling stations in Ward 8.

Other campaigns reported similar problems in at least two other wards. Election officials were not available late last night to comment. Sources close to the vote count said the modems that are supposed to transmit results were malfunctioning.

Mr. Barry — the man once dubbed “mayor for life” who was infamously videotaped smoking crack — won the same Ward 8 council seat that he captured in 1992 after six months in federal prison. That victory served as a springboard to his election for a fourth term as mayor.

Miss Allen, who was once Mr. Barry’s campaign manager, talked about the “joy” of working with her campaign staff before conceding defeat.

Outside the Barry campaign headquarters, streets were closed for a post-election party, and the song “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” played over the public-address system. Mr. Barry repeated his promise to bring jobs to the community east of the Anacostia River and was joined by former wife Effie, who gave him a hug.

Voter turnout throughout the District was low, but one of the biggest was at the Birney Elementary School on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE, about a mile from the Barry headquarters.

Iyon Johnson, 25, voted for Mr. Barry and recalled how, in his earlier days, he got her and other children summer jobs and frequently visited the neighborhood.

“He did such a great job. … He wanted to know what was going on,” said Miss Johnson, who cited jobs and affordable housing as her key election issues.

Cardell Shelton, a building contractor, ran unopposed in the Republican primary for the Ward 8 seat.

Democratic council members Jack Evans in Ward 2 and Adrian M. Fenty in Ward 4 ran unopposed.

Mr. Fenty, who was at the Barry headquarters en route to visiting all of the winners, called the upset of the three committee chairmen “monumental.” Mr. Fenty also said he welcomed working with Mr. Barry, but remarked that the former mayor would face a new council, new voters and a new city.

Jay Houston Marx, a consultant, ran unopposed in the Green Party primary in Ward 2.

Mr. Brown, 33, a political newcomer raised more than $136,000 to break Mr. Brazil’s 13-year grip on the at-large council seat.

“I always like a little freshness and am always willing to take a risk for change,” said Francis Holmes, a retired computer analyst who voted for Mr. Brown. “I like Brown’s youthfulness.”

Thomas R. Gray, 71, said he voted for Mr. Brown because Mr. Brazil had become complacent in office and alienated from constituents.

“Brazil has been there for a long time,” he said. “I don’t see him relating to the neighborhoods, except during elections, which is when it’s necessary.”

In the Ward 7 primary races, businessman Herod Telson won the Republican nomination, and teaching consultant Michele Tingling-Lemons won the Green Party nomination. Both were unopposed.

At-large council member Carol Schwartz appeared to win the Republican nomination. With 62 percent of the precincts reporting, she had 872 votes, or 86 percent.

Her closest challenger, Robert Pittman, had 110 votes, or 11 percent. He spent less than $500 on his campaign.

Laurent Ross, a savings account manager, was the declared winner of the Green Party primary for an at-large seat in an unopposed primary. With 54 percent of the precincts reporting, he had 112 votes, or 100 percent.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton won the Democratic primary for her position. She was unopposed.

Democrats account for nearly 75 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. 2 ballot. The two with the most votes win the seats.

Voters also went to the polls in Prince George’s County’s ND District, which includes parts of Catskill, Greenwood, Mount Ranier, Takoma Park and Delphi.

They cast ballots in a special primary election to fill the ND District county council seat vacated by Peter Shaper, who quit the council this summer to take a teaching job at the University of Maryland. A special general election will be held in October.

• Matthew Ella and Judith Person contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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