Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Despite the historic sweep of both the House and Senate after four decades of Democratic control of Congress, Republicans still could not penetrate the District in 1994 -- even though the Democratic mayoral candidate, Marion Barry, had been disgraced by a drug conviction and prison sentence. Forgiving D.C. voters elected him anyway. The new Republican Congress wasn't quite so understanding, however, taking away most of the mayor's power. An excerpt from The Post of Nov. 9, 1994:
By Nell Henderson and Yolanda Woodlee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Marion Barry Jr. was elected mayor of the District yesterday, completing his dramatic climb back to the pinnacle of D.C. political power only four years after he left office humiliated by his drug arrest.
With complete returns, Barry won 56 percent of the vote to 42 percent for Republican Carol Schwartz.
It was the closest general election mayoral result in the 20-year history of home rule. The vote divided significantly along racial lines, as it had in the Democratic primary, with overwhelmingly white Ward 3 west of Rock Creek Park giving Barry little support.
The mayor-elect immediately issued a call for unity. "It doesn't matter who you voted for ... join me," he told cheering supporters at the Washington Convention Center. "Whether you live in Wards 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and yes, Ward 3, join me in rebuilding Washington. Washington is our home." ...
Yesterday's mayoral vote suggested that Barry had failed in his effort to unify the city behind his candidacy. After his primary victory, he told white voters to "get over it" if they had personal problems with him. He later attempted to attract white support, but it went heavily to Schwartz yesterday.
"That `get over it' -- I'm not going to get over it," said Marie Terova, 50, an office administrator and resident of Ward 3. She said she had voted for Barry twice before, but voted Republican for the first time yesterday. "This isn't his city, it's my city. I was born here. ... He is an alcoholic, a drug addict, a sex addict and no example for our young people."
Barry supporters saw things differently. "As a believer in the Lord, I can feel it, I can sense it and I can see that the man has risen above the crack and the deception," said Leonard R. Washington, 61, a homeless man who said he has supported Barry in every one of his mayoral races. "But some people still have not forgotten, or he would have run away with the election. ... He will have to wear his past out in the open for a while to come until people have studied the man and his soul and see for themselves that he is a changed human being."
This series is now in a book that can be purchased online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/2000/collectors.htm