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Posted at 06:08 PM ET, 04/06/2012

Does Ron Moten have a chance in Ward 7?


Alexander’s primary performance: The shaded areas represent her percentage of each precinct’s vote; the size of the circles represents the total number of votes cast in each precinct. (Map by Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post; data from D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics)
Looks like the primary election drama is just about over, which means we can start moving on to the general election drama. But will there be any?

Perhaps in the at-large race, if David Grosso can run a strong race against incumbent and fellow independent Michael A. Brown. And definitely in the Ward 7 race, where Democratic incumbent Yvette M. Alexander will face Republican Ron Moten, who dispatched primary foe Don Folden Sr. by 35 votes.

Is Alexander is potential trouble?

On one level: Heck, yes. She won her primary race, after all, with a scant 42.4 percent of the vote. With the No. 2 and No. 3 finishers, Tom Brown and Kevin Chavous, combining for 44.3 percent of the vote, Alexander might be feeling nervous: Nearly six in 10 voters wanted someone who wasn’t her. She even lost two precincts: Brown won Precinct 80 — Kingman Park, the only part of the ward west of the Anacostia — and Precinct 101 — River Terrace, Brown’s home ward.

On another level: Heck, no. This is still a ward where nearly 84 percent of voters are registered Democrats. And this is a general election where President Barack Obama, still overwhelmingly popular in the District, will be on the ballot. That means lots more “low-information” voters who are likely to look at little more than the “Democratic” label next to down-ballot candidates’ names. All Alexander probably has to do to ensure victory, the conventional wisdom goes, is hammer home that she’s the Democratic candidate and associate herself with her fellow Democrat Obama.

The map above illustrates the opportunities and the challenges for Moten: Alexander couldn’t garner more than 35 percent or so in the ward’s northern precincts. But there are fewer voters in those precincts. She did better in the ward’s southern stretches — big, heavily Democratic precincts where Moten will be hard pressed to rack up votes.

But Moten says he’s on a course for victory.

”I’m going to win,” he said. “Listen, 60 percent of the people voted against Yvette Alexander. I am the people’s candidate that’s going to talk the real truth. ... Real talk, real solutions, plain and simple.”

He’s not worried that Alexander might use his criminal past — and the controversy his Peaceoholics nonprofit encountered — against him. “I’m not the perfect candidate,” he says. “I’m the best candidate.”

He’s also not worried that Obama is on the ballot, bringing out straight-ticket Democratic voters. He says he’s organizing a “Democrats for Obama and Moten” group and he’s pledging to bring out a group of ex-offenders, youth and other otherwise unlikely voters to pad his support — people “who don’t give a damn about a Democratic or Republican party because neither of them have done a damn thing for them.”

Alexander does not betray any concern. “I never take anything for granted,” she said, “but he got, like what, 60 votes? I’m counting on all Democrats to move forward in unity. So, no, I’m not worried about a Republican challenger.”

Moten, incidentally, voted for Mitt Romney in Tuesday’s GOP primary, and he said he’s still undecided between Romney and Obama for his November vote.

”I’m going to vote for who the best person is,” he said. “That’s what I’m telling people who I want to vote for me.”

By  |  06:08 PM ET, 04/06/2012

 
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