Former mayor Marion Barry (D) last night capped yet another revival of a long and often turbulent political career, easily winning election to the District Council as the representative from the city's poorest neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.
With results flowing in from across the region, Sen. John F. Kerry defeated President Bush in the District and Maryland, both of which are heavily Democratic. Bush captured Virginia.
Marion Barry attends his victory party in Southeast Washington, D.C.
(Marvin Joseph - The Washington Post)
Barry, 68, was among a slew of familiar faces poised to return to local and statewide offices, a gaggle that included U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the pugnacious three-term Maryland Democrat.
In Virginia, Democratic U.S. Rep. James Moran won an eighth term representing Northern Virginia's Eighth District while Republican Rep. Frank R. Wolf in the 10th District and Rep. Tom Davis in the 11th District were easily reelected.
In Richmond, former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder completed his own political comeback, winning the city's race for mayor.
In Maryland, Reps. Albert Wynn, 53, in the Fourth District, Steny Hoyer, 65, in the Fifth District, and Chris Van Hollen, 45, in the Eighth District, won decisive victories.
In the District of Columbia, Jeff Smith won his campaign for the District 1 seat on the Board of Education. Victor Reinoso ousted District 2 incumbent Dwight E. Singleton.
While Barry's victory in Ward 8 over a little-known opponent was not a surprise, it represented another dramatic twist in a political career that has spanned more than three decades. After relinquishing the mayoralty at the end of his term in 1998 with the city in financial shambles, Barry gave up plans to run for the council two years ago after police said they found him in a parked car at Buzzard Point with traces of marijuana and crack cocaine.
Undaunted, Barry announced this past summer that he was running again.
"It's not a comeback. It's a coming out of retirement!" Barry told reporters last night as he arrived for his victory party at a restaurant on Martin Luther King Avenue, near his headquarters. About 100 supporters chanted his name as he promised to put his long experience and still potent charisma to work for the residents of the poorest ward in the city.
Later, Barry needed help ascending an elevated podium, but he punched the air like a boxer as he delivered his victory speech.
"I've been knocked down. Some would say I was booted down, I pulled myself down," said Barry, who ended three consecutive terms as mayor after he was caught smoking crack in 1990 on an FBI videotape.
"Whatever it was, I got up," Barry said. "And for the people in Ward 8 who are depressed, who are frustrated: Get up! Get up! . . . Let's bring hope and pride to Ward 8!"
Barry was among three new candidates elected to the District Council, including Vincent C. Gray, who captured Ward 7, and Kwame R. Brown, who was elected to an at-large seat. Carol Schwartz, an incumbent at-large council member, won reelection, along with Jack Evans, who represents Ward 2.
In a speech at a restaurant on the Southwest waterfront, Brown told supporters: "They say it couldn't be done. We say it could. Tonight, in great numbers and with great hearts, people of the District of Columbia have turned faith into votes and hope into reality."
Voters in Maryland and Virginia considered a number of referendums.
A measure to add two at-large seats to the Prince George's County Council was defeated. Voters in Fairfax and Arlington counties overwhelmingly approved transportation bond proposals, including one for $110 million for Metro, returns showed.
And in Montgomery County, several proposals, including one to impose term limits on the County Council and another to block the council from overriding a property tax cap, appeared to be failing.
Barbara A. Favola, a Democrat seeking another term on the Arlington County Board, held a more than two-to-one lead over Republican challenger F. Landey Patton IV, a real estate agent.
"It says people are satisfied with the way things are going and you can't be too disappointed with that," Favola said.
In Prince George's, Will Campos won the County Council seat representing Hyattsville and Brentwood that was vacated earlier this year by former council member Peter A. Shapiro.