Monday, September 11, 2006

DC Mayoral Election

This fall features the first open mayoral race in the District of Columbia since the start of the Williams administration. Mayor Anthony Williams declined to run for an additional term, and there are five Democrats vying to replace him. Because of this city's political orientation, the really important vote is the Democratic primary in September, not the general election in November. The winner of that primary will almost certainly win the general election. Neither the Republican Party nor the DC Statehood Green Party are likely to mount a serious threat.

The candidates have been making a major push in the last few days. I have received at least five pre-recorded candidate phone calls in the past 48 hours. There are sure to be more to come.

So who are these candidates? Here is a list.

Linda Cropp
Nestor Djonkam
Adrian Fenty
Marie Johns
Vincent Orange

The mayoral race seems to have narrowed to a two-way contest between Linda Cropp and Adrian Fenty. The latter has been leading in most polls. The last poll from SurveyUSA (August 26-28) had Fenty at 45% and Cropp at 35%, with the other candidates in the single digits. A poll in July from the Washington Post showed Fenty ahead of Cropp by 39%-31%.

The main issues in the race have been economic redevelopment outside of downtown, the recent crime wave, and improving education, which remains a problem despite recent efforts. I browsed the candidates' websites for plans or position papers regarding environmental issues. The only two candidates who give the environment more than passing mention are Adrian Fenty and Marie Johns (pdf). Both candidates have proposed fairly ambitious plans for DC. If even half of them are fully implemented, the city should show great improvement. Unfortunately they are still short on details, and funding is always a major obstacle.

If you are a registered voter in the District, make sure to get to the polls tomorrow.