D.C. residents to pick Democratic nominee for next mayor

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - An early morning rally kicked off primary election day for D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser.

The Ward 4 representative told supporters that reform is needed in the mayor's office.

"What people want, is they want change at the top," Bowser told ABC7 News. "And they want to be proud of their city again. And that's why we have to have a change at the top. They want focus and vision for their future."

Supporters gathered with signs in hand. Many of them will spend the day driving voters to the polls to vote for Bowser.

"Muriel is very dynamic. She's very outgoing, and she touches the people," said supporter James Preston. "And what better mayor to have than a person that touches the people?"

In Southeast Washington, Mayor Vincent Gray voted after making some early-morning campaign stops.

The incumbent is saying, now is not the time for change.

"We expect to continue the progress that we've seen in this city over the last three years, three months and nearly one day," Gray said.

Former Mayor Marion Barry was outside precincts in his Ward 8, calling on supports to cote for Gray and talking about how much he loves the game:

"Being mayor I loved, being a council member, I love that -- but most of all, I love campaigning."

Many of those who worked the polling places for Gray supported him during the last campaign, which has been the ongoing subject of a campaign donor scandal.

"He's done a lot to make sure that the people in this city - both highly compensated and not highly compensated - are treated as one city," said Sondra Williams, at her polling place.

"Mayor Gray needs to continue - his heart is in the right place," voter Howard Gafaway said.

Since the polls show a virtual dead-heat between the top two candidates, Bowser and Gray, with the other candidates lagging far behind, the election could turn on the undecided voter.

"Yesterday I was at the gym and a whole bunch of us were undecided," resident Carla Rosenblum of Ward 3 told ABC7. Rosenblum added, she pretty much made up her mind during the drive to the polls this morning.

The other candidates include Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Jack Evans, Andy Shalal, Vincent Orange, Reta Lewis and Carlos Allen.

The D.C. Board of Elections predicts a 40-percent voter turnout - but with the nice weather Tuesday, that number could certainly climb.

As of mid-day, though, voter turnout was light.