Polls are now closed in the District for today's Ward 5 special election. The seat has been vacant for several months after former Council member Harry Thomas Jr. resigned and pleaded guilty to stealing government funds.
Nearly a dozen candidates ran for the seat and with turnout was expected to be light thanks in large part to early rains, pundits are calling the race wide open.
Today's election to replace the disgraced former council member will have immediate consequences. For starters, 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.
"I think voters are approaching this as a new election, a new day, and they are going the member that best suits the needs of Ward 5, without any consideration for what happened to Thomas," says political consultant and commentator Chuck Thies. "In fact it doesn’t appear as though his political machine is at all involved in this."
You can find out more about the candidates on their campaign websites: