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Declaring victory in the race for the Democratic mayoral nomination, Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser sought to unite the fractious Democratic field ahead of November’s general election.

“A lot of our friends were with other candidates,” Bowser said in her victory speech. “And it’s my job to let them know that I’ll be their mayor, too.”

The final tallies weren’t quite done yet, but with 127 of 143 precincts reporting, Bowser was ahead Mayor Vince Gray 44.1 percent to 32.3 percent.

She asked her supporters to cheer for Gray and other rivals Tommy Wells, Jack Evans, Vincent OrangeAndy Shallal, and Reta Lewis. (She inexplicably left Carlos Allen out.) Facing a challenge from independent David Catania, her colleague on the D.C. Council, Bowser is hoping to win the endorsements of her primary opponents. She held her victory party at Imagine Southeast Public Charter School in Congress Heights, across the city from the ward she represents.

If she didn’t seem too terribly worried, though, that may be because the city’s voters are 75 percent Democrats, and polls show she’d beat Catania easily.

“The residents of the District of Columbia have always elected a Democratic mayor, a Democratic president, in big numbers,” Bowser said. “We’ve got to do it again in November!”

In her speech, Bowser sounded a few campaign themes that largely aligned with Gray’s priorities in office. “We believe in health care for all and marriage equality and a sustainable D.C.,” she said. “We believe that taxation without representation is un-American.”

But she sought to differentiate herself from Gray on his biggest weakness in the race, the shadow campaign to elect him in 2010 that drew accusations of corruption (and has seen several of the mayor’s former advisors plead guilty to federal criminal charges).

“We believe,” she said, “that our mayor must command the moral authority to lead.”

Photo by Aaron Wiener