Public attention largely went elsewhere on Election Day, but there was no tougher electoral battleground than Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6E, where two of seven seats came down to a single vote in preliminary tallies.
One of those seats has a history of controversy familiar to close watchers of neighborhood politics: It’s the seat that was long held by Leroy J. Thorpe Jr., a firebrand Shaw activist, until his history of racial or homophobic tirades and autocratic handling of ANC affairs led to his 2006 ouster by a five-vote margin.
Since then, the seat has been held by lawyer Kevin Chapple, despite repeated attempts by Thorpe to get it back. This year, though, Chapple was also challenged by another activist, Martin Moulton, who has been fiercely critical of Thorpe’s antics (which included a lawsuit Thorpe filed against him) but also critical of Chapple’s lack of aggressiveness. Long story short, the anti-Thorpe vote split, and Chapple had a single-vote lead on election night, 274-273.
Now that absentee ballots have been counted, Thorpe has taken a five-vote lead. About 38,000 votes are remaining to be counted citywide; it’s unknown how many are in single-member district 6E02, but it’s safe to say the race remains too close to call. If an ANC race ends up decided by a margin of 10 or fewer votes, the loser is entitled to a recount free of charge.
Thorpe, for what it’s worth, says he’s a changed man.
Meanwhile, in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood a few blocks to the south, another ANC 6E race that carried a one-vote margin on election night has widened. Marge Maceda now leads Matthew Kozey by a more comfortable 16-vote margin, 326-310. Another ANC 6E race, to represent a district just west of Union Station, is separated by 27 votes: Alfreda S. Judd leads Connell Wise, 265-238.
Five other ANC races in the city are being decided by fewer than 30 votes.
In 5B01, in Michigan Park, Shirley Rivens Smith leads Gayle E. Hall, 353-347. In 5E10, the Stronghold neighborhood, Angela C. Blanks leads Sally Hobaugh, 426-417. In 6A02, in the H Street NE corridor, Drew Ronneberg leads Gloria Nauden, 451-441. In 1B12, in the U Street NW corridor, Zahra Jilani leads John C. Green 280-255. In 3G07, in Chevy Chase, Henry Griffin leads Jonathan T. Chu, 262-237.
Update, 8:50 a.m.: Sorry, missed another close one: In 2F04, in Logan Circle, John Fanning leads Joel Heisey, 326-303.