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Posted at 11:57 AM ET, 09/19/2011

Barry-backed candidate loses Ward 8 Dems bid

Williams’s bid fell short. (NATALIE WILLIAMS)
Last month, I noted that Natalie Williams, former spokeswoman for Marion Barry, was seeking the presidency of the Ward 8 Democrats with the support of the former mayor and current D.C. Council member.

This pitted some ward political activists undyingly loyal to Barry against other activists who criticized Williams on carpetbagging charges. (Williams moved to Ward 8 this year.)

The election took place Saturday, at the Ward 8 Dems’ annual convention. And Williams, who undertook what can fairly be called the most sophisticated campaign the group has even seem, was trounced, garnering 130 votes to Joyce Scott’s 203 votes.

Other members of Scott’s “Action Democrats” slate were similarly triumphant over Williams’s slate. Markus Batchelor, former youth mayor, was elected first vice president, and former council member Sandy Allen was elected second vice president.

Williams posted a valedictory message on her Web site Sunday: “Thank you to those who believed in my vision for moving the Ward 8 Democrats forward. ...Your efforts on my behalf were not, and will not, be in vain.”

If you’re wondering what all this means for Marion Barry’s influence on Ward 8 politics, well, don’t read too much into it. For the time being, it appears that as long as Barry himself appears on a ward ballot, he can expect to be reelected. What happens when that’s no longer the case remains an open question. While Saturday’s result might indicate that a candidate can succeed without Barry’s backing, keep in mind that Barry’s candidate for last year’s State Board of Education race, Trayon White, won election.

For more excellent coverage, see Congress Heights on the Rise.

By  |  11:57 AM ET, 09/19/2011

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