04/03/2012 07:47 am ET Updated Apr 03, 2012

District Of Columbia 2012 Primary: Council At-Large, Ward Races Up For Vote (UPDATES)

WASHINGTON -- Will voters in the District of Columbia, fatigued by headline after headline of stories involving allegations of public corruption and federal investigations of city leaders, turn out to turn out to oust incumbent lawmakers in Tuesday's primary elections?

That depends on, of course, who turns out to cast ballots. Turnout was low across the city.


Voters by and large have been tuned out or otherwise have been tiring out from the drumbeat of political scandals coming from the John A. Wilson Building.

Writes Washington Post columnist Colbert King:

Verdicts rendered at the polls on Tuesday may not be the only factors bearing on the District’s political future. The people most likely to influence political life in our city are holed up in the office of the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. That’s where federal prosecutors are conducting wide-ranging probes into the campaign-finance activities of some D.C. elected officials and their supporters. Among betting folks, smart money says some pretty high-flying politicians are going to be brought low.

In the meantime, we have Tuesday's elections to watch unfold. (Early voting was feeble.)

Because of the Democrats' overwhelming dominance of local politics, the Democratic primary is the main attraction for political watchers -- and voters. But Republicans have a party committee slots to fill and a GOP presidential candidate to select with Mitt Romney is expected to win handedly over Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman. (Rick Santorum is not on the ballot.)

Here's a breakdown of the local races across the District of Columbia and who to watch tonight:

Incumbent D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange (D), who previously represented Ward 5 and won a special election last year for the At-Large seat, could be sitting pretty or be dethroned. Democratic voters are going to the polls in the At-Large race as questions remain about Orange's ties to fundraiser Jeffrey Thompson, whose campaign finance activities have been under intense scrutiny by the feds.

There are plenty of people in town who want Orange out of elective office, but Orange's opposition is splintered. Former D.C. Councilmember and Board of Education member Sekou Biddle, former Prince George's Councilmember Peter Shapiro and the Rev. E. Gail Anderson Holness are all vying for the Democratic nomination.

Mary Brooks Beatty is unopposed on the Republican Party ballot. Two Statehood Green candidates will be on the ballot for the at-large seat, G. Lee Aikin and Ann Wilcox.

Longtime D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans is running unopposed in the Democratic primary in Ward 2, which includes Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, downtown and Foggy Bottom. Progressives have wanted to field a strong candidate to oust the Wilson Building's seasoned veteran for years and failed this year too, as the Ward 2 lawmaker raised a ton of money early.

There are no Republican or Statehood Green candidates on the ballot.

D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who was groomed by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty to win a special election to fill his former council seat in 2007, is facing a crowded Democratic primary in Ward 4, which spans the northern Rock Creek Park, including parts of Chevy Chase, Petworth, Crestwood, Brightwood and Manor Park, among other neighborhoods.

Because of all the competition, Muriel Bowser -- there's another Bowser in the race, Renée Bowser -- should be in an good position to retain her seat. Despite leading the council's effort last year to draft and comprensive ethics reform, she's been dinged as not being aggressive enough to push through a meaningful legislative package and shake up the Wilson Building.

Also in the Democratic race are Judi Jones, Max Skolnik, Baruti Jahi and Calvin Gurley.

There are no Republicans or Statehood Green candidates on the ballot.

All eyes are on Yvette Alexander as the incumbent faces a dissatisfied Democratic electorate in the ward, which is primarily east of the Anacostia River including neighborhoods like Deanwood, Benning, Fairfax Village, Penn Branch and Hillcrest.

Alexander, who first took office in 2007, is also facing some stiff challenges from Democrats Kevin Chavous, Tom Brown, Rev. Bill Bennett II, Monica Johnson and Dorothy Douglas. In such a crowded field, Alexander may have an advantage. But her political career might be done by the end of the night depending on who shows up at the polls.

In the Republican field, all eyes are on Ron Moten, the former Peaceoholics organizer, Adrian Fenty ally, Vincent Gray antagonist and new "Civil Rights Republican." Moten is expected to beat challenger Don Folden Sr., and then faces the Ward 7 Democratic machine. If Alexander survives Tuesday's vote, expect a spectacular fight from Moten.

There is no Statehood Green candidate on the ballot.

Former Mayor Marion Barry, who has held the Ward 8 seat since 2004, is the favorite to win and remains a larger than life figure in the ward, which covers an area south of the Anacostia River, including neighborhoods like Anacostia, Congress Heights, Barry Farm and Washington Highlands.

But there are a lot of Ward 8 residents who would like to see Barry out of office, including challengers Natalie Williams (Barry's former spokeswoman), Jacque Patterson, Danny Gaston and S.S. Sandra Seegars.

There are no Republicans or Statehood Green candidates on the ballot.

Incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton is unopposed on the Democratic ballot. There are no Republicans on the ballot. Natale Lino Stracuzzi is running unopposed on the Statehood Green ballot.

Democrat Pete Ross is trying to unseat incumbent Michael D. Brown.

Nelson Rimensnyder is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Nate Bennett-Fleming is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

There are no Republicans or Statehood Green candidates on the ballot.