After difficulties with polling machines and a long night of vote counting, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray early Wednesday was projected to win the mayoral Democratic primary in an upset, all but guaranteeing that he will be the city’s next mayor, according to the Washington Post.
Mayor Adrian Fenty declined to concede the race at 1:18 a.m. Unofficial results at 1:30 a.m. from the Board of Elections and Ethics showed Gray with 53 percent of the vote and Fenty with 46 percent, with 128 of 143 precincts counted. Election officials were proceeding with caution to avoid the problems encountered in the 2008 election, when incorrect figures were included in the rush to post results, the Post reported.
Kwame Brown was poised to become the next chairman of the council, and it appeared that Phil Mendelson would retain his seat as an at-large member. Both won their Democratic primaries Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the board of elections and ethics, and the city’s reliably Democratic electorate means they are also all but guaranteed the positions.
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) won her primary Tuesday and will face Republican primary winner Missy Reilly Smith in November.
Gray and his attorneys had petitioned the D.C. Superior Court to extend voting hours from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. after some polling places opened late and some experienced problems with new electronic voting machines. Judge Joan Zeldon rejected Gray’s request, calling the extension an eleventh-hour plea based on little evidence.
Voter turnout was said to be light. For the first time in D.C., unregistered voters were permitted to register and vote on the same day.