- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2016


Oh, goodie. There’s a real battle brewing where there once was a mere race for the Ward 7 seat on the D.C. Council.

For months, incumbent Yvette Alexander was considered a shoo-in for re-election against Ed Potillo. Both are Democrats, and both are well-known across the city and in the ward, whose borders include the Anacostia River and Prince George’s County. And the others who entered the race would, at the end of the day, become also-rans.

The dynamics changed Feb. 9, when Vincent Condol Gray entered the same race.

Women and men in D.C. have been battling in elections since they first were granted the right to vote in the 1964 presidential elections. But a former mayor challenging a successor he helped seat?

Yep, D.C. voters have been there and done that, too. It was done by none other than Marion Barry — who beat Wilhemina Rolark, a Ward 8 Democrat and longtime supporter — after being imprisoned on a federal drug conviction.

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Mr. Gray is as familiar with Barry’s comeback as anyone who has followed D.C. politics. So it’s no surprise he’s trying to pull a Barry.

What is surprising, however, is that it took Mr. Gray’s entrance in the race to light a fire under Miss Alexander, who first won election thanks to the highly ambitious Mr. Gray.

Miss Alexander is acting as though she wants to win the race.

May the best (wo)man win in the June primary.

Speaking of primaries

David Oberting wants to claim a Republican victory.

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Two at-large D.C. Council seats are on the ballot. One is held by Democrat Vincent Orange, the other by independent David Grosso.

The council’s other two at-large seats are similarly occupied, with D.C. Democratic Party chief Anita Bonds in one and former-Democrat-turned-independent Elissa Silverman in the other. The convoluted D.C. Charter dictates as much, saying at least two of the seats in each election must be held by members of the non-majority.

Republicans try to grab a seat or two in every election, but alphabets “R” and “G” “O” and “P” leave a bad taste in the mouths of city voters. Sometimes, they seem down right allergic to Republicans, even when the Republican is as moderate as Carol Schwartz. And if the Republican is a social conservative, forget about it. Republicans themselves might break bread and share a cocktail or two with them, but that’s about it.

Mr. Oberting readily concedes he’s no social conservative, but he doesn’t have to be. He’s running on a tax-and-spend platform, and can explain as easily as Jack Kemp how stakeholders lose when governments spend beyond their means and overregulation strangles businesses and the economy.

Mr. Oberting’s fiscal commonsense is sorely needed on the council; as an added bonus, he supports school vouchers, ponders the possibility of public-partnerships regarding public transit, and backs a flat tax.

He’s a shoo-in — at least in the primary.

Speaking of primaries, part II

Winners, losers and also-rans. That about sums up how candidates are gauged after an election.

Take the New Hampshire primary. We know who won, and we know who lost because they told us so Wednesday and Thursday — neither Carly Fiorina nor Chris Christie rose to the occasion.

Bernard Sanders, meanwhile, plans to keep his pimp walk to the left now that he has met with Al Sharpton as he heads into South Carolina primary-land for the Saturday tally.

In the also-ran category stands Jim Gilmore, the former governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Oodles of D.C. residents know or know of Mr. Gilmore, who just can’t get any traction.

By the time D.C. voters get to have their primary say on June 14, Mr. Gilmore will be long gone.

Besides, D.C. Democrats were giddy over Hillary Clinton before she even announced — as if D.C. voters owe her something.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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