With the nomination of Betty Ann Kane to an at-large Democratic seat, the new D.C. City Council that convenes next January seems assured of a membership - other than its chairman - that will be composed at least half of women.
If Kane and all incumbent candidates are elected Nov. 7, the council initially will be made up of six women and at least four men, plus a new male chairman, Arrington Dixon. There may be, for a time, two vacancies.
John J. Gunther, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said yesterday that no other big city in the nation is governed by a legislative body with such a high proportion of women.
The two council vacancies would occur with the expected resignation of Dixon from his Ward 4 council seat to become council chairman, and the potential resignation of Marion Barry from his at-large seat if he wins the Democratic mayoral nomination and is elected to that post in November.
Barry's at-large seat would be filled on an interim basis by an appointment of the D.C. Democratic Central Committee, followed by a special election in April. Dixon's Ward 4 seat would remain vacant until a special election.
In addition to Kane, two women members of the council were renominated Tuesday - Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3) and Hilda Mason (Statehood-At Large). Another, Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6), holds a 92-vote edge over challenger Patricia Rice Press in unofficial returns.
Also renominated Tuesday was David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), while William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5) apparently won renomination by a 311-vote margin over Robert Artist, one of seven Democratic challengers.
There are two women holdovers on th council - Willie J. Hardy (D-Ward 7), and the council's president protem, and Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8). Their terms, along with those of John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) and Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At Large), have two more years to run.
Kane won 34.1 percent of the vote cast citywide on Tuesday among nine candidates for the Democrat at-large nomination, with a 3,880-vote edge over second-running h. R. Crawford, a real estate developer and manager. The seat is being vacated by Douglas E. Moore, who lost to Dixon in the campaign for chairman.
Kane's margin was not as large as the 58 percent vote she received in her successful campaign for reelection to an at-large seat on the D.C. Board of Education in 1975.
At that time she carried seven of the city's eight ward, losing only far Southeast Ward 8. In Tuesday's council election, she carried four wards, with the victory edge supplied by a 7-to-1 margin over Crawford in Ward 3, the affluent, mostly white area west of Rock Creek Park.
Kane, who if elected would be the third white person and the first elected citywide on the council, issued a statement saying "People all across the city are willing to vote for the person - for performance - and hot because of how much money the campaign spends, who has endorsed you or what your race is."
Crawford was endorsed by numerous Labor groups and by the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade. During the campaign, he described his opponents as "stupid" and was accused in turn by some of them of making racist remarks.
Yesterday, in a subdued mood, Crawford sould not discuss the cause of his loss. He said he sent a congratulatory telegram to Kane, and praised her for running a highly professional campaign.
On Nov. 7, Kane will be on the same ballot with Mason, U.S. Labor Party nominee Stuart Rosenblatt and possibly two independents, the Rev. Warren A. HemPhill Sr. and Raymond W. Powell. The two top vote-getters will win.
In sheer vote-getting attraction, the biggest winner was Clark in Ward 1. Four years ago, he narrowly won nomination in a 10-way race. On Tuesday, he captured 78.6 percent of the votes in a four-way race, surpassing even the 76.9 percent racked up in Ward 3 by Shackleton, the grande dame of D.C. Democratic politics.
Observers agreed that Shackleton's eleventh-hour endorsement of Sterling Tucker for mayor alienated some Barry supporters, causing them to cast their votes for her opponent, Joel D. Joseph.
On Nov. 7, Clarke faces opposition only from Suzanne Klebe of the U.S. Labor Party and Antonio Grillo of the Socialist Workers Party. Shackleton will be opposed by Republican Alexander D. Cartner.
In Ward 5, incumbent Spaulding's margin was so narrow that Artisst was talking about mounting a write-in campaign for the general election. There are two other announced candidates - Steven D. Abel of the Statehood Party and independent Jonathan M. Owens.
Artisst said he would not concede defeat, and complained that in his home precinct, 69, the supply of ballots was exhausted twice, causing numerous voters to leave in frustration.
"I am waiting to hear from my attorney on whether we're going to seek some of appeal or a recount,"Artisst said.
Spaulding said he felt that people were not fully aware of his record on the council. If reelected, he said, "I think I will put a greater effort into keeping the ward informed as to what I'm doing."
With nine candidates in the primary race. Spaulding said, "issues sometimes became blurred, some voters got confused."
In Tuesday's closest race, in Ward 6, incumbent Winter and challenger Press both told a reporter yesterday that they din't regard the count, which has Winter 92 votes ahead, was conclusive.
"I am waiting for the final results," said Winter. "I still am anticipating winning," said Press.
Winter said the discovery by many tenants that the city's new rent-control law permitted landlords to raise rents had a "devastating" effect on he campaign. She said the tactics of her opponent "felt a bad taste in my mouth with politics."
The Ward 6 Democratic nominee faces opposition Nov. 7 from Anton Wood of the statehood Party.
Dixon, who has no ballot opposition in November for council chairman, spent part of yesterday presiding over the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, of which he is chairman. "We in the suburbs look forward to cooperating with the city," Fairfax County Supervisor Martha Pennino told him, offering a congratulatory handshake.
Douglas Moore, who lost to Dixon, spent the day in seclusion at his home after conceding defeat. His wife said he did not want to talk to reporters.