There is a new member of the D.C. Council representing Ward 5. Kenyan McDuffie, a Democrat, has won the special election with an unofficial tally of 4,085 votes, or roughly 45 percent of ballots cast. He won by a significant margin in a crowded field of nearly a dozen, besting his next closest competition, fellow Democrat Delano Hunter, by more than 2,000 votes.
McDuffie will replace Harry Thomas Jr., who stepped down from his Ward 5 seat after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $350,000 from the city.
McDuffie is a former postal carrier who later went back to college, then law school and later served as a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Tuesday's election to replace the disgraced former council member will have immediate consequences. To begin with, it provides a swing vote on a council that has been deadlocked on a couple of key issues recently, such as a furlough repayment plan.
And there are other implications as well. For nearly two decades, one family has stood out in Ward 5 politics: the Thomas family. Harry Thomas Sr. was the Ward 5 council member in the 1980s and 1990s, and his son took office in 2006, serving until his resignation earlier this year.
McDuffie will serve the rest of Thomas' term, which runs through 2014. Registered voters from any party were eligible to participate. Ten Democrats, one Republican and one independent were on the ballot, although one Democrat, Amanda Broadnax, had dropped out prior to the special election.
Thomas resigned in January and pleaded guilty to embezzling public funds. He was sentenced earlier this month to more than three years in prison.
McDuffie will be sworn in at the end of the month, after the election results are certified.