Primary election day has arrived in Washington, DC, and voters will make their choice in a four-way race for mayor, two wide-open DC Council contests, and more.
Current Mayor Muriel Bowser and councilors Trayon White and Robert White are the Democratic frontrunners. The majority of DC voters are registered as Democrats, and it’s likely that whoever wins the Democratic ticket will win November’s general election.
There are also elections for the Attorney General, the Council President, a seat on the General Council and Council seats in Ward 1, Ward 3 and Ward 5.
When and where to vote in the 2022 Washington, DC primary
In DC, polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can register to vote at the polling stations. Bring valid proof of residency with you.
Ballot papers can be handed in at one of the 40 voting centers from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Click here for more information and to find out where to vote.
The DC Board of Elections mailed 391,000 absentee ballots to every registered voter — the first time this has happened in a district mayoral campaign.
These ballots can be filled out and returned. They must be postmarked by June 21, 2022.
Alternatively, ballots can be dropped off at one of the 55 ballot boxes located around the city by June 21 at 8 p.m. Here is a list of locations.
Mayoral candidates in the 2022 DC primary
The Democratic primary essentially decides the mayoral race in deep blue DC
Bowser, DC’s two-year mayor, tries to fend off challenges from two council members as the district grapples with rising crime rates and concerns about homelessness.
Bowser had a tumultuous second term, during which she repeatedly opposed Trump and walked a public tightrope between her own police department and a vocal coalition of activists led by Black Lives Matter. She champions the need for proven leadership and her history as one of the faces of Washington’s ongoing quest for statehood.
Her main challengers are Robert White and Trayon White, who are not related. Both accuse Bowser of favoring developers as the rising cost of living is driving black families out of town, and mismanaging public safety issues amid rising violent crime, such as a Sunday night shooting that killed a 15-year-old boy and a police officer to have wounded officer and at least two other adults.
Robert White has a history of successful insurgency campaigns, having ousted an established incumbent for a seat on the council at large in 2016.
Trayon White openly evokes the spirit of the late DC Mayor Marion Barry, who remains a controversial but popular figure among many Washingtonians. White was criticized in 2018 for claiming that the Rothschilds, a Jewish banking dynasty and frequent subject of anti-Semitic conspiracies, controlled weather conditions in Washington. He later said he was unaware that his comment could be construed as anti-Semitic.
Candidates for Attorney General in the 2022 DC primary
Current Attorney General Karl Racine, who served as DC’s first elected Attorney General, decided against a third term. There are three candidates running for the post of chief law enforcement officer in the county. A fourth person, Councilor Kenyan McDuffie, suspended his campaign after the Election Committee deemed he had not qualified.
Ryan Jones is an attorney who said he plans to focus on national events affecting DC residents, such as police shootings.
Brian Schwalb received support from The Washington Post and Racine. He is a law firm partner whose areas of focus include keeping youth out of criminal justice, fighting wage theft and bridging equity and income gaps.
Bruce Spiva has been a DC attorney for nearly 30 years and has championed his record of civil rights, consumer protection and renter protection cases.
DC council candidates in the 2022 DC primaries
Chairman of the Council: Democrat Phil Mendelson has served in this role since 2012, having previously served as a general councilor for 14 years. He has campaigned for education, crime and affordable housing and, like Bowser, wants to increase the police force. The Washington Post endorsed him.
Mendelson’s main antagonist is Erin Palmer, a lawyer serving as the ANC commissioner. Your campaign is more progressive than Mendelson’s. Mendelson describes himself as a “pragmatic progressive” and won his last election in 2018 against another progressive, Ed Lazere, 63% to 37%.
One Republican running for the seat: Nate Derenge, a supply chain analyst who has stressed the council’s oversight.
general council: DC has four council members at large, and two are on the ballot. There is only one seat up for grabs in this year’s Democratic primary. The winner of the Democratic and Republican primaries faces independent candidates for two seats in November. This is because only two of the four can be from the same party. A Republican is running: Giuseppe Niosi.
Anita Bonds is hoping for her third full term on the Council. She was first elected in a special election in 2013 and then won re-election in 2014 and 2018.
Democrats running include:
- Nate Fleming, an attorney who served as DC’s US shadow representative and as Legislative and Committee Director on the DC Council. Fleming was endorsed by the Washington Post.
- Lisa Gore, who worked in government for 28 years, including as an investigator for the HUD Office of the Inspector General.
- Dexter Williams, who worked for Councilor Robert White and in government relations for Howard University before taking his current role at RepresentUs, which aims to improve electoral systems across the country.
station 1: Incumbent Brianne Nadeau is running for her third term, although she didn’t get the Post’s approval like she has in years past. Endorsement of the paper went to Salah Czapary, who resigned from the Metropolitan Police Department, where he served as a uniformed officer and then in a civilian position. Sabel Harris is also running. She is an ANC commissioner whose job includes marketing for tech companies.
station 3: When longtime Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh announced that she would not seek re-election, it opened the door to a crowded field of candidates. Nine candidates ran on the Democratic ticket. A week before the primary, three candidates were eliminated, although their names are still on the ballot. Ben Bergmann, Henry Cohen and Tricia Duncan retired.
Matt Frumin and Eric Goulet have raised the most money so far.
Axios DC’s Cuneyt Dil explains why the race for the DC Council seat in Ward 3 is attracting so much attention this primary.
Frumin is an education-focused advocate with support for mayoral control of schools and increased development in trade corridors. When Duncan suspended her campaign, Cheh said she would support Frumin.
Goulet is a former DC budget manager who has stressed overcrowding in schools and the need for more police officers. The DC Police Union and the Washington Post supported him. He is considered more moderate than Frumin.
The other Democratic candidates are:
- Deidre Brown, a former ANC commissioner who focuses on paying teachers and designing roads for cyclists
- Beau Finley, an ANC commissioner and former FCC attorney who focuses on crime
- Monte Monash, former chair of the DC Public Library Board of Trustees with a focus on education
- Phil Thomas, a former teacher who wants to build better schools and a senior center
The winner of the Democratic race will face the only Republican, David Krucoff, in the first ballot. He is a commercial real estate agent campaigning for the return of DC to Maryland to allow residents voting rights in the House and Senate.
station 5: Kenyan McDuffie has represented the community since 2012. He decided not to run for another term in order to run for Attorney General, but his candidacy was deemed ineligible. Seven Democrats are running for this open seat. The winner meets the only Republican on the ballot, Clarence Lee, Jr.
The Democrats running are:
- Gordon Fletcher, an American university professor and ANC commissioner whose platform focuses on crime, traffic fatalities and police patrols.
- Kathy Henderson, a longtime ANC commissioner who has spoken out on public safety and quality of life issues over the years. She is also a broker.
- Faith Gibson Hubbard was assisted by McDuffie. She was Director of Bowser’s Office of Community Affairs and has held some educational roles for the district. She has said she wants to focus on transparency, particularly from DC Public Schools, and bus reliability.
- Gary Johnson is a former professional basketball player in Europe who is a teacher and school administrator. He advocates year-round education and vocational training in schools.
- Art Lloyd is a former ANC commissioner in Ward 8.
- Vincent Orange represented that community from 1999 to 2007, and served as a general councilor from 2011 until his defeat in the 2016 re-election campaign. He is also a chartered accountant, attorney and former head of the DC Chamber of Commerce.
- Zachary Parker serves as President of the DC State Board of Education and has received a number of recommendations.