WHILE analysts continue to sift through the returns of Election '90, we offer some numbers from the local results that shed light on what District voters had in mind for their city. You can start, of course, with the tidal wave victory of the "clean house" candidate for mayor, Sharon Pratt Dixon. She won more votes than anybody ever has in this city: 140,011 at last count. That's 86 percent of a total 162,580 votes cast in this contest. That total, incidently is more than half of a record 308,105 registered residents. Voter apathy in the District of Columbia? Voter acceptance of the low point to which things had sunk? Forget it.
And also forget the idea that in the District there is a much lower political consciousness and involvement than exist in our neighboring suburban jurisdictions. Mrs. Dixon managed to win almost as many votes as did the winner and runner-up combined in the Montgomery County executive race, Democrat Neal Potter and Republican Albert Ceccone; far more than the grand total cast in the Prince George's county executive contest; and more than either Frank Wolf or Jim Moran captured in their congressional victories. For that matter, D.C. Council chairman-elect John Wilson won more votes than Mr. Potter in Montgomery or Parris Glendening in Prince George's County. That's no criticism of the suburban turnouts, only a yardstick for measuring the turnout in the smaller District.
Next, no matter how Marion Barry interprets his showing on Election Day, his citywide support trailed that of the following other citywide candidates for office: Mrs. Dixon, Mr. Wilson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Linda Cropp, Hilda Mason and all three of the people elected to be statehood lobbyists: Jesse Jackson, Florence Pendleton and Charles Moreland. Even if you calculate the number of people who may have cast one of their two votes for Mr. Barry in the vote-for-two at-large council contest, about 70 percent of the voters did not punch him in.
In the delegate contest, Mrs. Norton prevailed easily over her Republican opponent, but there were clearly a lot of Democratic reservations. Her total was 46,600 votes -- or about a third -- less than that for Mrs. Dixon, even though the total vote for delegate was only about 14,100 lower than the total vote for mayor. What do the figures say about the popularity of Jesse Jackson in his new hometown, or about the contests for "shadow" offices? Mr. Jackson's total was less than that of Mrs. Dixon or Mr. Wilson. But the total number of voters who cast ballots in either of these "senate" and "house" shadow contests was nearly 50,000 fewer than did so for mayor. People have some reservations about the shadow role too.
What should anyone conclude about the interest and/or wisdom of District of Columbia residents when it comes to voting beyond the evident fact that they are pretty careful how they pick and choose their way through a ballot? How about simply that the voters here can handle the job just as well as Americans in any other city or state -- and that they deserve long overdue and unconscionably denied equal representation?