WASHINGTON — Less than an hour after polls closed Tuesday night, the Associated Press named Muriel Bowser as the projected winner of D.C.'s Democratic primary election, virtually assuring her to a third term. The incumbent has served as the District's eighth mayor since 2015.
Bowser defeated two members of the DC Council -- Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White and Councilmember At-Large Robert White-- as well as former Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner James Butler.
"I congratulate Mayor Bowser on her win and I look forward to working with her," Robert White said of his loss at his campaign's watch party. "What I've seen is tens of thousands of people across this city who believed for the first time in a long time, who felt hope about what we can do as a city if we pull together. So I'm going to work with the mayor ... we can only do this work together, and I'm ready to keep working."
Mayor Bowser has had eight years to push an agenda around safer streets, affordable housing and stronger schools – but COVID-19 was a game-changer. The mayor says she’s running for a third term to lead the city through its COVID comeback. When the general election rolls around in November, she hopes her hometown with its 700,000 residents will see her as the one to move the city forward.
“I know where we were when we went into COVID," Bowser said of the progress she felt she achieved before the pandemic. "A triple-A bond rating, balanced budgets, very robust economy, and had the lowest unemployment in Ward 7 and 8 since those numbers have been recorded."
The mayor says schools have made strides too.
“D.C. residents are confident again in their public schools. We had nine straight years of growth,” Bowser said. "It’s very important that we stay the course, help our kids catch up, focus on areas where we need some work.”
The mayor says schools will continue to be one of her top priorities, including opening a new school in Ward 7, which she says is still on track.
More than 63,000 Washingtonians cast an early ballot this election, with about 12,000 people voting early in person, and more than 51,000 people voting by mail-in ballot, or drop-box ballot, according to the DC Board of Elections (DCBOE).
In 2018, the last D.C. primary that included a mayoral election, a total of 89,513 people voted in the city, which is only 18.66% of the total registered voters in the city. Data show that the majority of the votes were cast on Election Day (78.23%) and only 16.19% of votes were cast before Election Day.
Despite there being increases in voter registration since the 2020 general election, some areas of the city still are registering and voting at lesser rates. Wards 7 and 8 still have some of the lowest voter registration and turnout rates in the city.
See all D.C. primary results below: