- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dave Kranich and Tony Williams have their work cut out for them now that the District’s Democratic voters have firmed up what editorialists at The Washington Post have deemed a “strong slate of nominees” for the November general elections.

Mr. Kranich, who won Tuesday’s Republican nod, will face Democrat Adrian Fenty in the mayor’s race. Mr. Fenty won all eight wards; Mr. Kranich lost Ward 8, the East-of-the-Anacostia-River bloc that preferred to write in a candidate than hand a victory to a Republican. (Mr. Kranich only received 18 votes vs. the 43 tossed to write-ins.)

Such demographics are par for the electoral course in the nation’s capital, where Democrats outnumber Republicans better than 9-1 (285,486 vs. 30,560). The odds of the Statehood-Green Party (Ralph Nader’s colleagues) capturing an elected seat are about the same as the city winning statehood. (In fact, prior to the two parties merging in 1999, the D.C. Statehood Party had important voices in the late Julius Hobson and Hilda Mason, who for three decades served as either a member of the school board or at-large council member.) Independents, however, fare much better in citywide races. Bill Lightfoot, for example, served eight years as an at-large lawmaker (and currently is chairman of the Fenty campaign). And Council member David Catania switched to an independent candidacy after becoming disenchanted with the Republican Party. His seat is up for re-election this fall. Indeed, independent voters will have a larger voice that Republicans, since they, too, outnumber Republicans better than 2-1 (65,321 vs. 30,560).

The candidacy of Tony Williams in the race for Ward 6 council representative signals an interestong direction for Republican politics. Mr. Williams, a young, grass-roots member of the GOP, will face Tommy Wells this fall. Mr. Wells won the Democratic primary handily, but a huge problem for him is that in his several years on the school board Mr. Wells has no substanial record to hold up — unless calling yourself a good Democrat suffices as a record. Of all the upcoming ward council races, the one in Ward 6, which includes Capitol Hill and the Anacostia and Southwest Waterfronts, will be the one to watch. The new baseball stadium remains a hot issue for taxpayers in the ward.

We hope Tuesday’s victory doesn’t signal the end of Mr. Fenty’s marathon. Smarting from his landslide victory over Democrats Linda Cropp and Marie John, the candidate we endorsed in the Democratic primary, he already has begun transition talk, focusing on schools. Mr. Kranich, meanwhile, has a lot of catching up to do. One of the smartest moves Mr. Kranich — and Mr. Williams — can make at this juncture is to remind the media that Tuesday’s elections were only primaries — and that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

Congratulations to Mr. Kranich, Mr. Williams and Mr. Fenty. Let the real races begin.

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