WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Basking in the glow of victory, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser couldn't stop smiling after voting totals came in Tuesday night.
"I accept your nomination!" she said enthusiastically to crowds of supporters at a campaign party.
Bowser defeated Gray in Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary, leaving current Mayor Vincent Gray to serve nine months as a lame duck with potential criminal charges hanging over his head.
Bowser, 41, saw a surge in support heading into primary day, resulting in a convincing win. Early totals show Bowser earned 44 percent of votes to Gray's 32 percent.
It seems Bowser's promise of accountability and strong ethics resonated with voters in the district.
"I promised the values of our campaign would reflect the collective values of those of us in all all wards," said the Ward 4 representative.
It seems that message of unity helped Bowser fefeat six other challengers, gaining big numbers in the western half of the city and in her home ward, which Gray won in 2010.
Bowser promoted herself as an agent of change and trust in the wake of the unresolved federal investigation of Gray's 2010 mayoral campaign.
While Gray fared well in the eastern half of the city, it was not enough to beat the protegé of Adrian Fenty, whom Gray defeated four years ago.
Gray thanked supporters during a campaign event after early vote totals came out Tuesday night, indicating his loss.
"There's a lot of people who worked very hard. And I want you to know how grateful I am for the work you've done," he told campaign staff and volunteers, and supporters.
Looking forward, Bowser will face councilmember and Independent David Catania, who is widely viewed as a formidable challenger with thoughts of his own:
"I don't belive there's enthusiasms or inspiration or ideas on the side of the Democratic nominee," he said.
We ran into Catania at the Victory Fund offices on Wednesday, where they raise money for gay candidates. He portrays Bowser as “uninspired.”
"What council member Bowser's very good at, she's very good at voting for legislation that I authored. She's done it 50 times since she's joined the council," he said.
But for the moment, Bowser is standing tall, promising a new day.
Following early primary results, Gray was quick to remind supporters he still has nine months left on the job. The question now appears to be, how much can this lame duck mayor get done, especially with Bowser and Catania sitting on the city council?