DC Council primary results: Felder wins crowded Ward 7 race, incumbents easily win Democratic nomination

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Wendell Felder emerged with the Democratic nomination for Ward 7’s D.C. Council seat in a crowded primary with 10 candidates, while incumbents in Ward 4 and 8 and one at-large seat successfully fended off challengers for the Democratic nomination.

Polls closed in D.C.’s primary election at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Results posted by the D.C. Board of Elections show the ballots of 24.37% of D.C.’s 378,821 registered voters have been counted.

The Associated Press called the Ward 7 race in favor of Felder on Thursday evening with an estimated 93% of the total vote counted. Felder had a nearly 3.5% lead on the closest candidate.

Based on an early portion of the vote, The Associated Press declared incumbent at-large D.C. Council member Robert White the winner of the Democratic nomination over challenger and comedian turned politician Rodney “Red” Grant.

Incumbent Ward 4 and Ward 8 Council members Janeese Lewis George and Trayon White Sr. both also won in their perspective races, fending off challengers to earn the Democratic nomination, The Associated Press projected.

See live results here.

Felder wins Ward 7 nomination

In Ward 7, 10 Democratic candidates were vying for the seat being vacated by current Council member and former Mayor Vincent Gray. He announced he would not run for reelection following a series of health problems.

Wendell Felder, who previously worked in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration, won the Democratic nomination and will face no Republican or Statehood Green Party challenger in the general election, and in deep-blue D.C., the Democratic nominee is nearly always the heavy favorite in November.

After a counting of ballots as of 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Felder had 23.52% of the vote to Kingman Park ANC Commissioner Ebony Payne’s 20.13%. Eboni-Rose Thompson, who represents Ward 7 on the D.C. State Board of Education, was close behind with 20.07% of the vote.

Felder scored the critical endorsement of Gray, along with several other D.C. lawmakers. Thompson had the backing of the city’s firefighters and teachers unions.

Other candidates include former D.C. Council staffer Denise Reed, former ANC Commissioner Villareal “VJ” Johnson II, former D.C. shadow representative Nate Fleming, ANC Commissioner Kelvin Brown, former ANC Commissioner and union organizer Roscoe Grant Jr., former ANC Commissioner Ebbon Allen and lawyer Veda Rasheed.

Incumbents fend off challengers

Wards 4 and 8 pitted incumbent D.C. Council members against two less familiar challengers. Both incumbents came away with the Democratic nomination.

Ward 4 Council member Janeese Lewis George went up against former federal special agent Lisa Gore and former Petworth Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Paul Johnson.

The Associated Press called the race for George around 8:40 p.m.

As of Wednesday, George had 66.19% of the vote to Gore’s 28.14%. Johnson had just 5.32%.

Both challengers went after George on public safety during the campaign, noting she voted against recent emergency anti-crime legislation and saying she hasn’t worked closely enough with her constituents to affect real change in the ward.

George responded to those attacks by pointing out she’s the only D.C. Council member and only candidate in the race who has served as a prosecutor and prosecuted crimes in D.C.

Two-term Ward 8 Council member Trayon White Sr. faced challengers Rahman Branch and Salim Adofo. Branch is the former principal of Ballou High School, and Adofo is a tenant organizer and former ANC Commissioner in Congress Heights. Both challengers told voters that after eight years, it was time for a new face representing the ward.

Still, White Sr. easily held on to the seat, with The Associated Press calling the race about 40 minutes after polls closed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, White Sr. had 52.44% of the vote to Adofo’s 27.46%. Branch had 19.5%.

One challenger, comedian and philanthropist Rodney “Red” Grant, came forward to contest the at-large D.C. Council seat of Robert White.

The Associated Press called the race after the initial counting of mail-in and special ballots shortly after polls closed. Robert White had 81.81% of the vote to Grant’s 17.25% as of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Both White and Grant ran unsuccessful mayor campaigns in 2022, with White losing to Bowser in the Democratic primary by a margin of less than 9%, and Grant falling in the general election as an independent candidate to Bowser by a margin of more than 60%.

White has held his at-large seat since 2016.

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Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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