Former Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member Trayon White has not conceded the recent special election to LaRuby May, and said he will fight to represent the ward at the John A. Wilson Building.
May captured 27 percent of the vote in the April 28 special election to replace the late D.C. Council member Marion S. Barry. White followed her closely with 24 percent and said he believes when all of the 163 absentee and 1,150 provisional ballots are counted, he will have enough to claim victory.
“We didn’t get the major endorsements but we did do the right things at the right time,” White said to 35 supporters at an emergency meeting on April 30. “We are galvanizing and raising the consciousness of the people during this campaign. We sparked a lot of hope in people, and throughout Election Day, people were wearing Trayon White T-shirts all over the ward.”
While May had significant advantages in terms of money and the support of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s political organization, White had name recognition because of his successful candidacies in the 2011 Board of Education special election and the 2012 general election.
Barry endorsed White in both of those elections and White was known throughout the ward as Barry’s protégé. White decided to get in the council race after the elder statesman died and stayed in even after Marion C. Barry, the council member’s son, decided to run.
White also received the endorsement of the Washington Teachers’ Union and Jews United for Justice, and had the support of former D.C. Democratic State Board of Education Chairman Wanda Lockridge, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, and former candidates Nate Bennett Fleming, Stuart Anderson and Jauhar Abraham.
At the meeting, White asked his supporters to find voters who cast provisional ballots without proper identification for their vote to be counted. He urged his supporters to get those voters to go to the District elections’ board office before or on May 8 to make sure their ballots are counted.
“We may be behind now but when the provisional ballots are counted, they [May’s campaign] will not even be close to us,” White said.
May’s message to her supporters was the same. Mayor Bowser, who attended May’s celebration party at the Old Congress Heights School on April 28, concurred, and urged a fair election process.
“We want to make sure that every one of her votes is counted,” the mayor said. “Stand with LaRuby to make sure that every vote is counted.”
White said if the results show that May wins, he will ask and pay for a recount. Whatever the outcome of the recount process, win or lose, White will run for the council seat in 2016.
“We started our campaign for 2016 yesterday,” he said.
D.C. elections officials said the winner of the position, after counting all of the ballots in the initial phase, will be announced on May 14. The new Ward 8 council member and Ward 4 victor Brandon Todd (D) are tentatively set to take office on May 15.
White is not the only person who will run next year.
“Like my father, Marion [S.] Barry, I will continue to work on behalf of the least, the lost, and the last,” Marion C. Barry said. “My campaign for my father’s seat begins tomorrow [April 30].”