Saturday, September 16, 2006
TUESDAY'S D.C. primary was the first step, not the finale, in election year 2006. District voters still have important decisions to make in the Nov. 7 general election.
Some matchups are already pretty well known. Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian M. Fenty will face Republican David W. Kranich, Statehood Green candidate Chris Otten and independent Michael T. Green. For the two at-large seats, at-large D.C. Council member and Democratic nominee Phil Mendelson will be on the ballot along with independents David A. Catania (an incumbent) and Antonio D. Dominguez; Statehood Green nominee Ann C. Wilcox; and at-large Republican nominee Marcus W. Skelton. Since under law no more than three of the council's five at-large members (including the chairman) can belong to the same political party, Mr. Catania most likely will be pitted against Mr. Dominguez, Ms. Wilcox and Mr. Skelton. In addition, Democratic nominees for the council seats in Wards 3, 5 and 6 face various challenges from independent, Statehood Green and Republican candidates.
With public education Topic A on the minds of voters, the race for president of the Board of Education should capture the city's attention. Five people have filed declarations of their candidacies: City Administrator Robert C. Bobb; Carolyn N. Graham, a former deputy mayor and current school board vice chairman; Timothy L. Jenkins, a technology consultant and former interim president of the University of the District of Columbia; Laurent Ross, first director of the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program; and schools activist Sunday Abraham. Their records of service and views on the school system and governance issues warrant strict scrutiny by voters citywide in the weeks ahead.
With the departure of Tommy Wells, voters in Wards 5 and 6 face a similar task in deciding among eight candidates who have filed to represent District III on the board. Five candidates in Wards 7 and 8, including incumbent William Lockridge, have filed to represent District IV. The outcome of races for the school board presidency and the District III and IV seats could have a strong bearing on the fate of public education in the city.
D.C. voters, with less than eight weeks to go, have an obligation to get up to speed on the candidates and the issues.