Supporters of Patricia Rice Press in Ward 6 have launched a write-in campaign to elect her to the D.C. City Council.

Press narrowly lost a primary election challenge to replace incumbent Nadine P. Winter as the Democratic nominee from the ward, which includes Capitol Hill and a large section of Anacostia. A recount of ballots showed Winter won by 120 votes out of more than 10,000 cast.

Backers of Press, a real estate investor and laundromat operator, held a press conference last week at the District Building to launch their campaign. They announced formation of a group called the People's Committee for a Fair Election, headed by Daisy Powell.

Powell said "numerous election irregularities witnessed by many individuals" had cast suspicion on the Winter victory. She said the group would circulate a petition calling on the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics "to take all necessary measures to ensure a fair election in November."

Toward the end of her 1,000-word statement, Powell said the committee "asked Pat Press to be a write-in candidate . . . as an example of how citizens can stick together to protest unfair election procedures."

Powell, a retired federal employe and longtime civic activist, acknowledged that no formal protest of the alleged violations was filed with the elections board.

Also supporting the Press write-in effort was another of the four candidates in the Democratic primary, David Hall, who polled fewer than 200 votes.

Winter, told of the move, said it was "a campaign kickoff for Pat Press." Press denied it and refused either to endorse or disavow the committee's actions. She insisted she had been unaware in advance of its formation.

She confirmed that her primary campaign manager, Donovan Gay, had advised against making a write-in campaign against Winter in the general election. She said she agreed with the advice.

"But I do feel honored by (the committee's) deep interest in having me serve on the City Council," she said in a telephone interview.