WASHINGTON -- Marion Barry, the former Washington mayor infamous for being caught smoking crack on an FBI videotape, staged another political comeback yesterday, ousting an incumbent city councilwoman.
The man once dubbed "Mayor For Life" appeared to have won the Democratic nomination for the Ward 8 council seat -- the same post he won in 1992 after serving six months in prison for his drug conviction. He used that as a springboard to a fourth term as mayor in 1994.
With little money and few volunteers, Barry, 68, ran a low-key campaign against Councilwoman Sandy Allen, who once served as his campaign manager. He spent primary election day visiting with voters at the 16 precinct polling places in the predominantly black, working class district.
"Money can't buy service and can't buy love. And I've given service to this community," Barry told the election night crowd.
Allen conceded defeat to reporters. "There are people out there who only vote when Marion Barry runs. You can't figure them into your projections," she said. "I will always work with whoever the council member is, whoever is the people's choice."
Barry pledged to work for jobs, construction of 10,000 new homes, and health care. He urged supporters to lobby the mayor and City Council. "I cannot do it alone," Barry said.
But others expressed concern that Barry's election could place the district and Ward 8 under increased scrutiny from Congress, which has legislative authority over the city.
"This ward would suffer if he's elected as a councilperson," said Denise Catlett, a longtime resident who supported Allen's bid for a third term.