Democratic primary: The race for D.C. Mayor

WASHINGTON — Voters are getting a last look this weekend at the candidates for mayor in D.C.’s Democratic Primary.

WTOP reached out to the candidates for a final message about the top issues they want voters to keep in mind in the booth.

The race largely focused on the investigation into Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign. Businessman Jeff Thompson pleaded guilty to bankrolling a $600,000 “shadow campaign” to help Gray beat incumbent Adrian Fenty four years ago, but Gray says he didn’t know about it, and did nothing illegal.

In his response to WTOP’s request for the two biggest issues he would address in a second term, Gray’s campaign says he would focus on education, along with economic issues like jobs and affordable housing (see details of the candidates’ responses in the photo gallery, right).

Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, tied with Gray in recent polls, says she would speed-up education reforms, especially for the District’s middle schools. Her campaign says she would also focus on affordable housing and homelessness.

Council members Jack Evans, Tommy Wells and Vincent Orange, as well as Carlos Allen did not respond to WTOP’s request for their two top issues.

Evans’s campaign focuses on his lengthy experience in District government. Wells has emphasized a decision not to accept corporate campaign contributions and the endorsements of the D.C. police and firefighters’ unions.

Former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis says she would focus on “repairing the tarnished reputation of the District” through open and transparent government, as well as diversifying the District’s economy beyond the federal government.

Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal says he would change the District’s formula for education reform by focusing on neighborhood schools, while also addressing growing inequality in housing, education and jobs.

Saturday is the final day of early voting at 13 locations across the city.

All 143 regular polling places will open for election day on Tuesday.

The Democratic nominee faces independent, and former Republican, at-large Councilman David Catania in November’s general election, which could become Washington’s first competitive general election for mayor since the mid-1990s. As an independent, Catania is not on the ballot Tuesday.

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