Incumbents Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), Marion Barry (Ward 8), Yvette M. Alexander (Ward 7) and Jack Evans (Ward 2) all racked up huge margins and — having won in the Democratic primaries — will most likely return after the November elections to a council that has been distracted by internal rivalries.
Overcoming decades of legal and personal drama, Barry received 73 percent of the vote against four challengers, prompting him to declare that he had again beaten the “haters and the doubters.”
“They have thrown the kitchen sink at me,” Barry said in an interview. “But they don’t know how courageous I am. It’s a landslide.”
As Barry spent the day basking in his win, Orange’s future remained in doubt, pending the counting of absentee and provisional ballots by the Board of Elections and Ethics on April 13.
“I think it’s up in the air,” said Bill O’Field, executive director of the D.C. Democratic State Committee and a former spokesman for the election board.
As of Wednesday evening, officials said the election board had received 1,553 Democratic absentee ballots of 3,347 sent to Democrats in the weeks before the primary. Ballots must have been postmarked by the close of business Tuesday and will be accepted by the board through next week.
Alysoun McLaughlin, a board spokeswoman, said 3,867 provisional ballots would be counted, but officials could not say how many came from Democrats.
Biddle, a former interim council member trying to return to the body he briefly served on early last year, said he remained optimistic that he could overtake Orange because “a lot could happen” in the final vote count.
Orange countered that he is “extremely confident” that he will maintain his lead.
“We believe they are coming from senior citizens, nursing homes, and I understand some will be coming from” the D.C. jail, said Orange, noting that he has generally performed well among older residents. “I know one person, in particular, who told me they are responsible for gathering 175 absentee ballots.”
Some of the absentee ballots could also come from families away on spring vacations.
Even as both campaigns await the final count, the recriminations have started.
Some Biddle supporters criticized former Prince George’s County Council member Peter Shapiro, a candidate in the at-large race who received about 11 percent of the vote.
They said that Shapiro, a Chevy Chase resident who captured most of his votes in Biddle strongholds in Northwest Washington, was a “spoiler” and that he might have handed the election to Orange.