Most of D.C.’s Political Establishment Won Big Last Night

Much stayed exactly the same for D.C.’s political establishment after Tuesday’s primary. Yet the results also suggest that the ground is shifting beneath their feet. D.C. voters sent a mixed message that defies easy categorization. In the three citywide races featuring incumbents, the old hands cruised to victory without much drama: Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, At-Large Councilmember Anita Bonds, and, of course, Mayor Muriel Bowser. But the practical effects may well be felt in the ward races, where two lawmakers more inclined to uphold the status quo (Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie) did not seek reelection and are set to be replaced with two progressive favorites in Matt Frumin and Zachary Parker, respectively.

Throw in Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s win and it is hard to deny that the D.C. Council sworn in early next year will almost certainly be a lot less friendly to the sort of moderate policies championed by Bowser, Mendelson, and company.

The primary winners still have to win in November, and you can never count out an independent bid, but it’s a solid bet that progressives on the new-look Council will have more muscle than ever before, should they choose to use it. Bowser and Mendelson still hold many of the levers of power (and there are major differences even among the left-leaning members of the Council). Even so, moderates won’t have as many reliable votes as they do now.

“Change was delivered,” Parker said as he celebrated his sizable victory at Ivy City Smokehouse.

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