TOPPING THE ballot in the District’s upcoming Democratic primary is the contest for mayor. But it’s not much of a race. Muriel E. Bowser faces only nominal opposition to her reelection bid and, barring a challenge in the November general election, appears to be on track for a second term. If so, she would be the first D.C. mayor since Anthony Williams in 2002 to be returned to office. That no credible challenger has so far emerged is, in some measure, testament to Ms. Bowser’s adroit leadership of the city. She deserves to be reelected.
Not only is the District prospering, but also Ms. Bowser delivered on a promise to restore integrity to government. She has been effective in addressing some of the biggest issues facing the city, including the future of Metro and combating homelessness. To be sure, there have been stumbles — most significant being the setbacks confronting the city’s improving but still seriously troubled public schools. Regaining the momentum that has marked a decade of school reform will be a major challenge confronting Ms. Bowser if she wins a second term. Another will be delivering on an aim to bridge the gulfs of class and race that divide the city, shutting too many residents out of the city’s prosperity. She is keenly aware of the years of promises made — and broken — to struggling neighborhoods in Wards 7 and 8 and vows to make a difference if she gets a second term.
Playing a key role in what direction the city will take over the next four years will be the D.C. Council, so voters should pay attention to the down-ballot races in the June 19 primary. No race is more critical than that for chairman of the D.C. Council, in which incumbent Phil Mendelson is being challenged by Ed Lazere, head of the left-leaning D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. We have not always agreed with Mr. Mendelson on the issues but we respect his thoughtful stewardship of the council and his fair-minded approach. Unlike Mr. Lazere, who seems to think the answer to any problem facing the city is to throw more money at it, Mr. Mendelson is clear-eyed about both helping the city’s neediest residents and the danger of returning the District to the days of free-wheeling spending without regard to consequences.
Also on the primary ballot are contested races for an at-large council seat and three ward seats. In the at-large race, we favor real estate professional and political newcomer Marcus Goodwin, one of two challengers to incumbent Anita Bonds. While Ms. Bonds is earnest about solving the housing challenges facing many city residents, her effectiveness since joining the council in 2012 has been dubious. Mr. Goodwin has creative ideas on how to foster homeownership and affordable housing, and his development background would bring needed balance to a council too often in thrall to the advocacy community.
In Ward 1, incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau is the best choice, having proved to be a quick study as chair of the council’s Human Services Committee in driving legislation on such issues as homelessness. Ward 5 council member Kenyan R. McDuffie has been a standout member of the council since winning a seat in a 2012 special election. His work in bringing about criminal-justice reforms and promoting economic development in his ward commends him for another term. In Ward 6, incumbent Charles Allen has been a forceful advocate for his ward’s needs and effective in shepherding through the council such issues as public financing for elections.
We also endorse Eleanor Holmes Norton for reelection as the District’s nonvoting representative to Congress. Challenger Kim Ford, a promising political newcomer with some smart ideas, argues the need for change after Ms. Norton’s 14 terms on the Hill. But Ms. Norton has been indefatigable in her efforts on behalf of her beloved District and, despite the odds stacked against her, has proved to be effective in standing up for the city’s interests.
Up for election but unopposed in the primary are Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Ward 3 council member Mary M. Cheh.