Wednesday, October 24, 2018

DCist Election Guide

DCision 2018: Your General Election Voting Guide


The November 6 election day is fast approaching, and in D.C., you can cast a ballot even sooner than that—early voting begins on October 22 at these locations and lasts through November 2. Remember: D.C. has same-day voter registration. You can take a look at your sample ballot to get familiar with your options, and below we've provided more context for the decisions you'll make for D.C. government. 
MAYOR
Mayor Muriel Bowser is well positioned to become the first D.C. mayor to win a second term since 2002. She’s raised $2.5 million, a huge sum in a race with limited competition. 
She faces Green Party challenger Ann Wilcox, who most recently ran for an At-large spot on the D.C. Council in 2012 and garnered 6 percent of the vote. Wilcox was a Ward 2 Board of Education member from 1994-1998, according to the Green Party campaign website, and she’s a practicing attorney who defended Army Lt. Dan Choi after he was arrested in 2010 for protesting “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in front of the White House.
Also running against Bowser are “progressive independent” candidate Dustin Canter and Libertarian candidate Martin Moulton. Canter is a yoga teacher whose platform includes stopping what he calls the “real estate vultures” and promoting entrepreneurship, as well as increasing access to healthy foods across the city. You can read the others here
Moulton is a libertarian who ran against Eleanor Holmes Norton in 2016 for a seat as D.C.’s congressional delegate, where he got 6 percent of the vote to Holmes’ 85 percent. He told D.C. Refined that he wants to tackle recent scandals in the city’s public schools, abolish all drug laws in the city, and legalize sex work.
Bowser’s first term was not without controversy. She dealt with a host of scandals, including two separate cases where officials in her administration (including the now-former chancellor of D.C. schools Antwan Wilson) skirted school lotteries to place their children in preferred institutions. 
However, Bowser presides over a growing D.C. economy (despite high levels of inequality), with unemployment numbers down in every ward since she took office. She’s all-but-certain to sail to victory in a few weeks. —Natalie Delgadillo
D.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL
This is the second time that residents have the chance to elect D.C.'s attorney general, and Karl Racine, the man who inaugurated the role, is looking for four more years. 
From the outset, he faced off with Mayor Muriel Bowser over just how much power the new office would have. Political observers suspected that Racine would use his time as AG as a springboard for his own shot at mayor, but he said last September that he would rather "build upon the work we've already done" by running for reelection this term. He faced no challengers in the Democratic primary, and won nearly 99 percent of the vote.
During his tenure, Racine beefed up the office's consumer protection branch, focusing on issues like negligent landlordsunlawful house flippers, and notario fraud
Like many Democratic attorneys general, Racine has also been filing and joining lawsuits against the Trump administration, including over family separationprotections for defrauded student loan borrowers, the Affordable Care Act, and many more. He and Maryland AG Brian Frosh are suing the president over claims he's violating the Constitution's anti-corruption clause, and the case has moved to the discovery process, where Racine will try to make the business records public.
But he's not the only person on the ballot. Joe Henchman, the chair of the D.C. Libertarian Party, has entered the race, and says that, while he respects Racine's work, he would differ as AG in two key ways. He would use the Consumer Protection division to pursue action against WMATA, as well as direct the office's Public Advocacy division to fight "NIMBY opposition to affordable housing," he says. He also says that, unlike Racine, he can promise that he won't be running for mayor in four years.
"I'm fully aware that no one would take a bet on Mr. Racine not winning re-election," Henchman says. "A minimum goal for me is making D.C. general elections non-automatic." —Rachel Kurzius 
COUNCIL CHAIRMAN
Despite a challenge from the left during the primary, in which both candidates sought the mantle of "proven progressive leader," Council Chairman Phil Mendelson emerged with about two-thirds of the vote
After he won, Mendelson reminded his supporters that they still had another election in November, though "we don't anticipate it will take as much of our time, money, and energy" as the primary. 
Indeed, Mendelson's only competition this November comes from the Libertarian Party's Ethan Bishop-Henchman (married to the aforementioned Joe Henchman, running for AG). Bishop-Henchman says that he's largely running to make sure that it's a contested election, and doesn't have hopes of victory over the man who has held the gavel since 2012. His major objection to Mendelson is shepherding the repeal of Initiative 77, because he disagrees with the council overturning a policy directly approved by voters. 
Mendelson, who boosted his progressive bona fides with his work on paid family leave and a number of other labor laws, frustrated lefties by leading the charge to repeal the measure to eliminate the tipped wage. Bishop-Henchman says that people have reached out to work on his campaign since then, but not enough to really tip the scales. —Rachel Kurzius

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