WASHINGTON---The streets around my northwest Washington neighborhood were full of campaign workers today--primary day in this city where the winner of the Democratic mayoral primary basically has the race clinched. Incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty is fending off a big challenge from City Council chairman Vince Gray. A big issue is education--and Fenty's hiring of Washington schools chief Michelle Rhee. Gray--who has the backing of the teachers union-- would not say if he would keep Rhee if elected.
As in Chicago, Washington votes along racial lines. While both Fenty and Gray are African Americans, if Fenty is defeated tonight, it will be in part because he lost support in the city's African American communities. The rap on Fenty is that he played to white, wealthier communities. Though Fenty endorsed Obama during his presidential primary, Obama did not return the favor and help out Fenty, even though he asked.