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Barry wins Council primary; Orange-Biddle close

Wednesday - 4/4/2012, 9:31am  ET

At-large race not official for 10 days

WTOP's Mark Segraves reports

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BEN NUCKOLS
Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry has easily won a Democratic primary for his D.C. Council seat, virtually assuring him of a third consecutive term representing the poorest of the city's wards.

Preliminary results in Ward 8 show Barry with 73 percent of the vote, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. Jacque Patterson was second with 9 percent.

Barry served four terms as mayor and has only lost one election in nearly four decades in politics.

In the Democratic primary for an at-large Council seat, Councilmember Vincent Orange held a slim lead over former interim councilmember Sekou Biddle. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Orange led by 523 votes, or 1 percentage point. As many as 3,700 absentee ballots remain to be counted. Elections officials will tally them on April 13, 10 days after the primary.

Orange defeated Biddle last year in a special election, and Orange recently acknowledged receiving suspicious money-order donations during that campaign. The contributions have been linked to businessman Jeffrey Thompson, whose home and office were searched by federal authorities as part of a broad investigation into campaign finance in the District.

Councilmember Muriel Bowser, D-Ward 4, and Councilmember Yvette Alexander, D-Ward 7, won their primaries over multiple opponents. Democrat Jack Evans of Ward 2 ran unopposed.

Democratic turnout was 15.5 percent, which is similar to previous primaries for Council races. This year, the Council primary and presidential primary were held on the same day for the first time.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)