Henderson wins at-large DC Council seat; magic mushrooms referendum passes

Editor’s note: Polls in D.C. are closed but you can still check out WTOP’s voter guide. And see all the results for District races online.

Christina Henderson has won election to one of the two at-large seats on the D.C. Council as votes came in Wednesday.

The latest numbers from the D.C. Board of Elections has Henderson almost 13,000 votes ahead of Vincent Orange for second place among at-large candidates. Incumbent Robert White took the top spot.

Orange tweeted a concession Wednesday, saying he had spoken with Henderson and “wished her all the best” after she ran “a good, clean and steady campaign.”

After Tuesday, the D.C. Council will be majority women for the first time in decades.

Below are the projected winners and who’s in the lead for D.C.’s races.

The Board of Elections said in a release that the current tallies are considered “unofficial.”

“We will continue to tabulate mail ballots received through Nov. 13 and update vote totals until we publish and certify the official election results.”


One thing that did pass was Initiative 81.

Melissa Lavasani, chairwoman of the campaign to Decriminalize Nature D.C., said she feels “relief.”

“I feel grateful. I feel excited for the future. This is a landmark moment,” Lavasani told WTOP. “We look forward to having more conversations with Congress in the future and how they can support drug reform laws.”

Get more elections news from WTOP.

Here’s how WTOP is covering the election.

In the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden is projected to take the District’s three electoral votes, which should not surprise anyone.

District voters have been allowed to cast presidential ballots since 1964 and have always voted overwhelmingly Democratic. Hillary Clinton’s win in D.C. over Republican Donald Trump in 2016 was the widest margin ever.

Mike Gill, a member of the D.C. Board of Elections, said voting in the city went “very smoothly” because of early preparations.

“I think what we learned was that mailing the ballots and … generating a lot of publicity for the early vote centers were the key. Most of the votes came in through mail-in ballots. We had a great turnout for the early centers, including the super centers that we had set up,” he told WTOP. “And so Election Day was a beautiful fall day with no lines, and most voters had already voted in the District of Columbia.”

DC Council at-large (two seats)

The race for the D.C. Council’s two at-large seats drew a whopping number of candidates: 24.

In the end, voters chose just two.

Incumbent Democrat Robert White is the projected winner of the first at-large seat. Independent candidate Christina Henderson claimed victory Wednesday afternoon.

DC Council Ward 2

Projected Winner: Brooke Pinto

Democrat Brooke Pinto faced stiff opposition to keep the D.C. Council seat vacated by Jack Evans after winning a special election back in June.

At 28, Pinto is the youngest council member in District history, and the first woman to represent Ward 2.

DC Council Ward 4

Projected Winner: Janeese George

Democrat Janeese George was endorsed by a slew of progressive and union organizations as well as D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

DC Council Ward 7

Democratic incumbent Vincent Gray ran unopposed.

DC Council Ward 8

Projected Winner: Trayon White

Democrat Trayon White has held his council seat since the 2016 election.

Initiative 81

YES, to approve
NO, to reject

Initiative 81 reduces the priority of police enforcement of entheogens — magic mushrooms and psychedelic plants. It does not decriminalize them or make them legal, since they are considered Schedule 1 drugs.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she voted against Initiative 81.

US House delegate (nonvoting)

Projected Winner: Eleanor Holmes Norton

Incumbent D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat, faced several challengers, but held on to her seat yet again.

Norton has been in the House since 1991. The fight for D.C. statehood is her key issue.

Shadow Senator

Shadow senators are recognized by D.C. but not officially sworn into Congress or seated in the Senate. Learn what shadow senators do.

Projected Winner: Paul Strauss

Incumbent Democrat Paul Strauss held his seat against Republican candidate Cornelia Weiss and Green Party candidate Eleanor Ory.

Strauss has been in office since 1997.

Shadow Representative

Shadow representatives are recognized by D.C. but not officially sworn into Congress or seated in the House.

Projected Winner: Oye Owolewa

Democrat Oye Owolewa is projected to take the seat previously held by Franklin Garcia, who left the position to run for one of the D.C. Council’s at-large seats.

DC Board of Education


Jacque Patterson leads.

Ward 2

Allister Chang leads.

Ward 7

Eboni – Rose Thompson leads.

Ward 8

Carlene D. Reid leads.
See the D.C. election results.
WTOP’s Anna Gawel, Mike Murillo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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