Election Day is finally here. Just think: in a few more hours, the airwaves will be free of campaign ads, yard signs will be coming down, and we’ll have a better idea of the people who will make up the 114th Congress. Locally, there are a handful of close races that could adjust Washington area’s trajectory, from DC’s mayoral and attorney general elections, Maryland’s gubernatorial contest, and the fight for Virginia’s 10th District. Oh, and DC might legalize marijuana possession.
Polls are open until 8 PM in the District and Maryland, and until 7 PM in Virginia. If you’re still unsure of where to vote, enter your address in this tool from Google and the Voting Information Project.
In DC, Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser has maintained a comfortable lead over her closest rival, independent David Catania. But after Bowser's win in a primary with abysmally low turnout, Catania has managed to give the city its most competitive general election in years. Will an electorate in which Democrats hold a three-to-one registration advantage remain in character, or are we due for a surprise?
Meanwhile, the District will choose its first-ever elected attorney general, a position candidate Paul Zukerberg fought to keep on the ballot, but one voters appear to have struggled to learn about as the race dragged on. Karl Racine, the managing partner at the law firm Venable, has jumped out in that five-candidate race, largely on the support of a Washington Post endorsement and $450,000 he lent his own campaign.
And if DC voters approve Initiative 71 today, the nation's capital will join Colorado and Washington state in legalizing marijuana. Here's what that would mean.
In Maryland, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown seeks to succeed outgoing Governor (and future presidential candidate) Martin O'Malley as the Democrats' standard-bearer. But the Republican nominee, Larry Hogan, an Annapolis-area businessman, has made it a tight race, buoyed largely by Brown's oversight of Maryland's bungled healthcare exchange.
Meanwhile, Virginia's most exciting race is in the 10th congressional district, where longtime Representative Frank Wolf is retiring, setting the table for a scorched-earth contest between Republican Barbara Comstock and Democrat John Foust, with nearly $5 million from outside groups flooding the air. Comstock is slightly favored to win the seat, which covers Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William counties, but with Northern Virginia becoming more dense and urban every year, the race reflects the commonwealth's turn from a reliable red state into something much more purple, something that will surely be noted by a certain former Secretary of State and pal of the current governor.
Virginia's Senate race, in which Mark Warner is up for re-election, is far less exciting. With Warner in a comfortable lead, his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, has resorted to hinging his campaign on how his support for the Washington NFL team's name is more overt than Warner's.