Jesse L. Jackson easily won the race yesterday to become a shadow senator to lobby Congress to make the District a state, and the civil rights leader said his election to the unofficial but symbolic post represents a "step closer to D.C. statehood."
"Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we work," he told 300 supporters at a victory celebration at the Washington Plaza Hotel. He said he plans to meet soon with city officials and members of Congress to discuss statehood for the District.
Community activist Florence Pendleton, a Democrat, won the second shadow Senate seat. Lawyer and political consultant Charles J. Moreland, another Democrat, won overwhelming election as the shadow representative to the House of Representatives. All three posts are unpaid and unofficial.
The 48-year-old Jackson, who ran as a Democrat, led his 10 opponents in the race for the shadow Senate seat by a hefty margin, with 105,633 votes, or 46 percent of the total. Pendleton, a 64-year-old Democrat, received 58,451 votes, or 26 percent. The seats go to the top two vote-getters.
Moreland, 42, had 92,764 votes, or 72 percent, in the three-person race for the shadow House seat.
Despite the presence of Jackson in the race, some voters said they were having trouble taking the contest for the shadow seats seriously.
Ashley Clarke, a Ward 6 resident who voted in other contests, was one voter who said she had bypassed the shadow races. "I didn't vote because I don't think it will have much effect," she said.
It remains to be seen how Congress will deal with the shadow senators and representative, whose duties were vaguely defined by the D.C. Council when it created the positions last March. Previously, Congress has granted some privileges to unofficial representatives from territories not yet admitted to the union as states.
Staff writer Barton Gellman contributed to this report.