Loose Lips

Bowser to Voters: It’s a Two-Person Race. Don’t Waste Your Vote.

Bowser tries to sway an Evans volunteer outside Miner Elementary School.

Bowser tries to sway an Evans volunteer outside Miner Elementary School.

With polls showing her in a statistical tie with Mayor Vince Gray for the lead in today's mayoral primary, Ward 4 D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser sought to sway supporters of other candidates to her side with a simple message: If you vote for anyone but me or Gray, you're wasting your vote.

Bowser took to the home turf this morning of her rival, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, who's polling well behind Gray and Bowser. Turnout was sparse, leaving mostly just volunteers for the various campaigns outside the polling places. Bowser was undaunted, working to persuade even volunteers for her opponents to jump ship and vote for her.

"I love Jack," she told a volunteer for Ward 2 Councilmember and mayoral candidate Jack Evans outside Miner Elementary School on Capitol Hill, "but he can't win."

To everyone she met outside Miner, Bowser made the same pitch: "We're locked in a tight race. Every vote counts." Most of the time, she left the subtext—a vote for Wells, Evans, or the more minor candidates doesn't really count—unspoken, but occasionally she was less subtle.

"We're locked in a tight race with the incumbent," she told Craig Welkener, a 25-year-old Ward 6 voter. "Make your vote count."

It appeared she didn't sway him. After Bowser walked away, Welkener said he thought Gray had done a "great job" as mayor, but worried that re-electing him amid the scandal surrounding his 2010 race would be tantamount to "Marion Barry part two." He walked into Miner to cast his vote for Wells.

Bowser speaks with a man who has just voted (not for her) at Eastern Market.

Bowser speaks with a man who has just voted at Eastern Market.

In fact, it doesn't appear that Bowser's succeeded in swaying many voters today outside the polls, where most people have already made up their minds. Outside Eastern Market, where she arrived in her black Lexus SUV just after Wells left, most passersby walked quickly past Bowser. Among the few people she managed to stop for a chat were elderly residents walking with canes who couldn't make a fast getaway—but they made clear with their silence that they were not Bowser supporters. When Bowser finally found a group of people not already committed to another candidate, it turned out they were visiting from Seattle.

Still, Bowser said she hadn't completely struck out with her efforts today. She met two undecided women at the Brookland Education at Bunker Hill this morning, she said. "I think I persuaded them both," she reported. "I think those are the only undecided voters I met at the polls today. Although I have hope for that Jack Evans volunteer at Miner. I have hope for her."

Photos by Aaron Wiener

  • districtwanderer

    That top picture is brilliant! I think Bowser has a point, but I couldn't swallow hard enough to vote for her this morning. I'm officially a Catania supporter now anyway.

  • WARD 4 Kappa Man

    This mayoral election will have a low turnout because most D.C. voters are disgusted with lying and corrupt politics. Politicians can't be trusted to do the right thing in the best interest of their constituents. However, I cast my vote for Mayor Gray because a vote for Muriel Bowser would be a disaster for the residents of the District. Muriel would be worse than Sharon Pratt-Kelly as the city's mayor. Muriel lacks compassion and social skills

  • Go Catania

    bring on November. Let's just hit snooze for today's election. I'm pulling for Gray since it'll create an easier path for Catania.

  • noodlez



  • justsayin

    Since she is so confident about being a shoo-in, she shouldn't have to pounce on folk and badger them to vote for her.

  • WARD 4 Kappa Man

    noodlez, as a Ward 4 voter, I have never voted for Muriel. The reason why she won as the Ward 4 representative, most Ward 4 voters didn't vote because they don't like her or her personality. However, Bowser made sure she had her supporters to go to the polls and vote to get her elected. Voter turnout in the District and nation wide in local elections is abysmal.

  • dcrat

    I was going to vote for Bowser even though I was not that big on her until I read the DCist interview and it became clear that she is Fenty 2.0, not that bright. I think she probably shows up late all the time so she doesn't have to answer questions and show how bad she would be. Although he probably won't win, I went Tommy Wells.

  • gilla

    voted somewhat reluctantly for mayor gray. don't like the indictment issue, but he's done a competent enough job as mayor and runs circles around marion barry in terms of intelligence and ability to govern. i could have been swayed by a good candidate, but didn't see any. bowser? are you kidding? really says something about the field if she's a frontrunner.

  • Adam

    Not a big fan of Bowser, but I voted for her to get Gray out of the running. I'll probably support Catania in the general election.

  • Oliver

    I'm more and more convinced that Gray will win today and Wards 1 through 6 will flock to Catania for the general.

  • DontSleeponDude

    FOLKS, the Catania Frieght Train has left the station and will be arriving the first week of November. MB will not be able to go toe to toe with him. BELIEVE DAT. The voters that she cant sway today (people already committed to Gray, Evans, and Wells) WILL NOT vote for her in November. Expect large numbers of them to either stay home or vote for Catania.

  • LOL

    I am uncertain guys...please help me out...I don't want to vote for anyone for known reasons but I certainly don't want to waste my right.

    Gray, Bowser, Evans, Wells, Orange...they are all the same...

    You can never tell what a person is going to do when they secure office as voting is definitely a GAMBLE

    I actually want to vote for Gray but I witnessed the way he used so many people in his 2010 campaign, albeit, the city is moving forward

  • Smh

    This post was a waste of space. Aaron Weiner is part of the far left anti-walmart crowd. This post is expected.

  • NotWasted

    If someone is indifferent between Bowser and Gray, then voting for Wells is not a waste. It might well help to strengthen the issues he stands for by telling DC pols how many are concerned about them.


    Really, she is out there trying to "sway" other candidate's volunteers? LOL.

    Like I said last year, this race is about the "tallest midget" and Vincent C. Gray is head and shoulders above this "short" group.

    After being "BEAT" up by the Washington Post and their "Shit for BRAINS" editorial board. Along with the US Attorney's UNETHICAL "mud" slinging press conference and "Skip Jail Sweetheart" deal to Thompson. It is amazing that Gray is still standing! But he is resilient and will fight for what is RIGHT!

    GO Gray, DC needs you for 4 more years and you DESERVE it!!

    One City!!

    In '16, ward 4 will get a new council member, for REAL!!

    BTW- Where is Fenty? When is he going to "pop out" of the toilet ? I know he is in DC somewhere...... come out Fenty...... where are you headed? Ward 3? Ward 6? Come support your "Boo"......

  • DontSleeponDude

    @Realdc, love the tallest midget comparison. ..that accurately depicts this race entirely

  • Sylvie

    @Realdc - I agree with the "tallest midget" stuff, but I think Gray is the shortest. And the US Attorney is mudslinging? Please...do you really expect us to believe that? I'd take the US Attorney's word over Gray's any day of the week.