A day after winning the democratic mayoral primary over incumbent Mayor Vincent C. Gray, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser has shifted her focus to the November general election. During a news conference at the National Press Club April 2, Bowser provided a glimpse of her agenda for the next several months.
The day before, as Bowser, her campaign staff and supporters gathered to watch the primary election results trickle in, she held the lead from the beginning – never looking back. Despite some predictions, the results were never close – ending with her winning 44 percent of the vote to Gray’s 32 percent.
Despite her winning margin – with voter turnout at a low 22 percent – Bowser is not taking the race for granted in the months leading to November.
“We take no voters for granted,” Bowser responded to a reporter’s question about whether she assumes a victory in November.
“We’re going to spend the next several months talking about our vision for everybody who doesn’t know us,” she said. “I’m known for getting out and talking to people directly about what their priorities are and making sure that we can incorporate their thoughts and aspirations into our vision. ”
That vision includes speeding up school reform, growing the middle class and having an “open and honest government.”
Bowser acknowledged the progress made under Mayor Gray’s tenure – even saying that everything within the District government doesn’t need to change – but said there is more to be done. “I’ve been on the city council for the last seven years, Bowser explained. “I have a good sense of the programs that are working and the people who are working well.”
One of people on Bowser’s watch list is D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who Bowser has not committed to keeping in position.
As far as a strategy for her general election campaign against presumptive opponent Councilmember David Catania (I), Bowser responded cautiously.
“I don’t think we’re going to talk about the strategy for the race right now. I’ll just say this, the democrats from around the city want to make sure they elect a mayor that shares their values. More than that, I’ve had the great privilege of representing a lot of independents and republicans for my last seven years on the council. [We] have enjoyed support across the line. We anticipate that outreach happening as well over the course of the next several months.
And what does Bowser think of her chances against Catania?
“If you believe the polls – and I believe them sometimes – it says that we would do very well in that race,” she said with a smile.
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Correction: This version corrects a minor grammatical error discovered in the previous version.