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Thirty minutes after his campaign manager announced that the campaign wasn’t sure how to respond to Board of Elections vote totals that showed him losing by more than 10 percentage points, Mayor Vince Gray entered the ballroom: He’d lost the Democratic primary to Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser.

With poll results showing him losing to Bowser 44.1 percent to 32.8 percent, Gray congratulated Bowser on her win but seemed to hold back from endorsing her in the upcoming general election contest against independent At-Large Councilmember David Catania, saying only that his supporters would have to work hard to make sure his successor would be a good mayor for the city.

Gray also touched on the highlights of his administration, including the Walmart development in Ward 7’s Skyland development and early childhood education.

He also blamed the April primary for low turnout in the race, suggesting that the primary should instead be held in the summer. “This is really poor,” Gray said.

But that same early primary will also leave Gray a lengthy lame-duck period before he’s replaced in office in January.

“If I’m going to be in this job for another nine months, I am going to work extremely hard,” Gray said. “This will not be an experience where we sort of drift into the end of this administration.”

Photo by Will Sommer