By TRIP GABRIEL, New York Times –WASHINGTON — Muriel E. Bowser, whose activist father introduced her to signature-gathering and door-knocking as a girl, won a stunning upset on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for mayor in a race that turned on the integrity of the incumbent, Vincent C. Gray.
Ms. Bowser, 41, promised a “fresh start” as she put the focus on Mr. Gray’s ethics and neutralized his advantage as leader of a city of increasing economic dynamism.
Mr. Gray, addressing supporters after midnight before the board of elections had complete results, conceded to Ms. Bowser as he spoke of his lame duck status for the remainder of the year. “If I’m going to be in this job another 9 months, I’m going to work extremely hard in order to move this city forward,” he said.
Ms. Bowser appeared shortly after and claimed victory. She called the election “an affirmation that the status quo is not good enough for us.”
Ms. Bowser won easy, taking 44 percent of the vote to Mr. Gray’s 32, according to the city board of elections, in a race with only light turnout. She won convincingly in an eight-way race in the affluent western part of the city and demonstrated solid appeal in the black majority neighborhoods of the east side, where she cut into the large majorities that Mr. Gray carried four years ago.
Asked at news conference on Wednesday how she would introduce herself to Washington residents who may have little sense of her other than an anti-Gray, Ms. Bowser repeated her campaign theme to bridge the city’s haves and have-nots.
“We are a wonderful growing city and I’m going to be very supportive of that progress, but I’m going to use every piece of apparatus and energy in the government to make sure we’re building a stronger middle class and a pathway to that middle class — that’s schools, that’s housing and that’s job training,” she said.
WASHINGTON, D.C., MAYOR
CANDIDATE VOTES PCT.
Muriel E. Bowser 35,899 44.3%
Vincent C. Gray Incumbent 26,209 32.4
Tommy Wells 10,181 12.6
Jack Evans 4,039 5.0
Andy Shallal 2,657 3.3
Vincent Orange 1,537 1.9
Reta Lewis 346 0.4
Carlos Allen 88 0.1
100% reporting 9:48 AM ET
Speaking at the National Press Club, Ms. Bowser said that Mr. Gray had still not called to congratulate her.
In the 41 years since Washington gained home rule, the winner of the Democratic primary has sailed into the mayor’s office thanks to the city’s liberal electorate. But Ms. Bowser faces now faces the most serious general-election challenge in memory, from an independent candidate, David A. Catania, who has won citywide elections as a council member.