Democrat Sharon Pratt Dixon, riding a populist pledge to "clean house," was elected District of Columbia mayor Tuesday to succeed Mayor Marion Barry, who lost a city council bid after his conviction on a cocaine charge.
In a landslide, Dixon, 46, a saavy, articulate lawyer who has never held elective office, beat Republican Maurice Turner, 55, a 32-year veteran police officer who retired after eight years as chief in 1989 and then switched to the GOP to run for mayor.Barry opted not to seek election to a fourth term after his arrest in January on cocaine possession. He ran instead for one of two at-large seats on the D.C. City Council but finished an embarrassing third in a field of eight, at least temporarily ending his long local political career.
In late October, Barry was sentenced to six months in prison - a sentence he is appealing.
Dixon, who will usher in a new era of D.C. politics when she takes office Jan. 2, becomes the first native Washingtonian and only the third person to be elected mayor since the District of Columbia got home rule in 1968.
"The people of the District of Columbia have spoken, and they've sent a message, clearly, unequivocally and almost universally," Dixon said in claiming victory before cheering supporters. "And the message is clear. They have said that it is time to clean house."
"My heart is full, and I'm going to let you know tonight, D.C., I am not going to let you down," she said.
The final vote totals gave Dixon 140,011 votes, or 86 percent, compared with 18,653 votes for Turner, or 11 percent. Nine other minor party or independent candidates split three percent.
"Life has peaks, and life has valleys," Turner said in conceeding defeat. "I'm not ashamed of the race we run. I'm disappointed with the outcome."