Attorney and community activist LaRuby May, who received the backing of most of the city’s LGBT community leaders, won her race for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat by a razor-thin 79-vote margin, according to a final but unofficial count released May 8 by the Board of Elections.
The April 28 special election was called to fill the seat that became vacant when former mayor and D.C. Council member Marion Barry died last November.
May, who expressed strong support for LGBT rights, was nearly overtaken in the vote count by former Ward 8 school board member and Barry protégé Trayon White, whose positions on LGBT issues are largely unknown.
In an 11-candidate race, May finished with 1,955 votes, or 26.76 percent, compared to White, who received 1,876 votes, or 25.67 percent. May outspent White in campaign funds by a more than a 6-to-1 margin and enjoyed the support of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who campaigned in the ward on her behalf.
In a separate race, Brandon Todd, who also received LGBT community support, easily won election to the Ward 4 Council seat that became vacant when then-Council member Bowser won election last November as mayor. Todd had served on Bowser’s Council staff as constituent services director and later served as finance director for Bowser’s mayoral campaign.
Todd also has expressed strong support on LGBT issues.
Todd and May were scheduled to be sworn in at a 6:30 p.m. ceremony on Thursday at the Wilson Building. The election board was scheduled to officially certify their election at a 10:30 a.m. meeting that same day.
White’s strong showing surprised many of the city’s political observers, who now say he is in a strong position to challenge May in the June 2016 Democratic primary, when Barry’s former seat is up for election.
When the Washington Blade contacted White last week to ask him about his views on LGBT issues, White requested that questions be sent to him in writing. As of late Tuesday, he had not responded to a series of written questions on LGBT issues, including whether he would have voted for the city’s same-sex marriage law if he were on the Council when that legislation came up.
Barry, who White has said was one of his political mentors, was one of two Council members to vote against the marriage equality law when it came before the Council in 2009.