Category Archives: DC

Huge Turnout Disparities in DC Helped Bowser Defeat Gray

DC used to be part of Maryland, so 7S is straying south of Western and Eastern Aves. in this late night post. The final numbers aren’t in but Muriel Bowser looks to have handily defeated incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray by 44%-33% with 127 of 143 precincts reporting.

If the turnout had been more equal across wards, it might’ve been much closer. Here are the vote percentages organized by turnout:

DCElection

The correlation between vote for Bowser and turnout was a 0.74, though that could change with complete results.

Nonetheless, it seems clear that enthusiasm was way down in Gray’s Anacostia base of Wards 7 and 8 with turnout rates roughly one-third to one-half of that in Wards in 3 and 4–Bowser’s two best wards. Bowser’s field operation clearly did a good job of getting voters out in her home turf of Ward 4.

The bottom fell out for the Gray campaign in Ward 3 (Upper NW), the whitest ward in the city, where he garnered just 11%–barely ahead of Tommy Wells. He fared almost as poorly in Ward 2 (Georgetown) with just 14%.

Bowser did comparatively well in Gray’s Anacostia base of Wards 7 and 8 with 28% and 30% of the vote, respectively. She clearly consolidated the vote dissatisfied by Gray. The election map resembles that of four years ago with the critical differences of much lower turnout and a different winner.

Oddly enough, my impression is that Bowser’s voters are more satisfied with DC and its government than Gray’s, which seemingly makes no sense. Except that the allegations of corruption against Gray rendered him unacceptable to many, especially whites who did not support him four years ago, and were hammered home by the Washington Post.

On the other side, Gray’s voters were not as antagonized by Bowser as by Fenty four years ago. Additionally, many of his core supporters still feel left behind with some viewing the rapid neighborhood change or gentrification welcomed by many of Bowser’s supporters with concern.

I’ve heard heavily contrasting views on the both of these candidates with some calling Gray a fundamentally decent man who has done a fine job running the city and others declaring his corruption disqualifying and saying that DC doesn’t need another mayor indicted while in office. At the same time, some label Bowser a lightweight while others look to her with hope.

Now seems a moment not just to congratulate Muriel Bowser on a much more solid victory than many anticipated but also to thank Mayor Vincent Gray for his service. Whatever his campaign may have done, Gray does not seem to have benefited personally and he cares deeply about DC.