DC Primary Election: Key races to watch

D.C. residents will be headed to the polls on Tuesday, June 4 to cast their ballots in the Democratic presidential primary, as well as for Congress and city offices. 

Several incumbent D.C. Council members are looking to hold onto their seats. Wards 2, 4, 7, 8 and one at-large seat will be on the ballot, along with the delegate to the House.

Here’s a closer look at these key races: 

Ward 2

Council member Brooke Pinto has no challengers in this race. 

Pinto has seen success in the District this year with her Secure DC crime bill being signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser in March. 

The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation designed to combat the crime crisis impacting lives all across the city. 

It strengthens gun penalties, cracks down on organized theft, and expands the definition of carjacking. It also creates drug-free zones and allows for the collection of suspects’ DNA if they’re charged with a violent or sex crime.

Pinto says she remains committed to her core issues including promoting public safety, addressing homelessness, supporting small businesses and improving public transportation.

Ward 4

Janeese Lewis George is running for re-election against challengers Paul Johnson and Lisa Gore

Lewis George has been serving on the council since 2021. Her legislative priorities include expanding affordable housing, community safety and crime reduction, child care for all and job investments.

She is currently the Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Family Services.

Johnson is a former ANC Commissioner and Executive Committee member. His core issues also include crime reduction and economic investments in the ward. 

"Recently, my wife and 6-year-old had to run for cover due to a stray bullet during my daughter’s soccer game just a mile from our house. Small businesses are shuttering across the Ward," Johnson’s campaign website reads. "I believe we can work together on the following key issues to put our community first."

Gore has 27 years of service in federal law enforcement and has served in various roles within the DC community. She is an ANC commissioner in Chevy Chase and previously worked as a juvenile probation officer and a special agent in charge of the operations division for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general.

Gore is running on a platform that promotes community safety, investments in services for youth, families and senior citizens, support for small businesses and improving transportation infrastructure. 

DC Primary Election: What you need to know

Ward 7

While most of the city primaries on the ballot involve incumbents running for reelection, the Ward 7 city council Democratic primary is an open-seat race featuring 10 candidates. 

The incumbent is former Mayor Vincent Gray, who is retiring after suffering a series of health challenges in recent years.

The candidates on the ballot for Ward 7 are: 

  • Ebbon A. Allen
  • Kelvin E. Brown
  • Wendell Felder
  • Nate Fleming
  • Roscoe Grant Jr.
  • Villareal Johnson II
  • Ebony Payne
  • Veda Rasheed
  • Denise Reed
  • Eboni-Rose Thompson

Ward 8

Running against incumbent Ward 8 council member Trayon White Jr. are Salim Adofo and Rahman Branch.

White has been serving Ward 8 since January 2017. White came under scrutiny earlier this year following a report that the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance levied a $20,000 fine against White and his campaign treasurer. On top of that, OCF says White owes nearly $59,000 in public funds he received through D.C.’s Fair Elections Program. 

When FOX 5 spoke with White about the missing $59,000 in campaign funds. He said he is working with his attorney and his accountant to try and figure out exactly what happened.

Salim Adofo is a tenant organizer and a community advocate. He has represented the Columbia Heights community as the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner since 2018 and he was elected to serve as the Chair for ANC 08 in 2021. 

Adofo is also an Army veteran and over the past few years, he has served on the boards of the United Planning Organization, as well as the National Society of Black Engineers.

Rahman Branch is the former principal of Ballou High School, who was also appointed to Mayor Muriel Bowser's cabinet as DC’s first Executive Director of African American American Affairs. 

According to the Washington Post, Branch reduced truancy and violence at Ballou during his six years as principal there and supports mayoral control of schools.

D.C. House Delegate

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is currently seeking her 18th term as the non-voting delegate to the US House of Representatives. 

Holmes Norton has been a delegate since 1991. She is turning 87 in June and is tied for the oldest member of the House.

She is up against Kelly Mikel Williams.

Williams is the D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and served as a White House appointee under President Bill Clinton. He was the runner-up in 2022 Democratic congressional primary. 

The Washington, D.C., primaries will be held Tuesday. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Anyone in line by 8 p.m. will be able to vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.