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Fifteen minutes before polls closed at 8 p.m. tonight, Tommy Wells was a bit of a celebrity on his Ward 6 home turf.

“Hi Mr. Wells,” one man said as he approached Wells at the Eastern Market Metro station.

“Have you won, yet?” another asked.

One young kid even asked his dad if Wells was the president.

But one supporter had a different take: “Hey, if not this time, next time,” he screamed to Wells. “I’m open,” the councilmember responded.

If the results trickling in so far are any indication, it looks like Wells will definitely be open. (With 55 of 143 precincts reported at around 11 p.m., Wells was in third, with about 12 percent of the vote, behind Muriel Bowser and Vince Gray.) Come January, the two-term Ward 6 councilmember’s term will be up.

But still, Wells supporters packed the Top of the Hill bar in Capitol Hill for his election party, loudly chanting “Tommy” as they ate on the campaign sponsored, carb-filled spread of crackers, cheese, pita, and soft pretzels.

“No matter what happens, you can’t help but feeling fantastic coming to a crowd like this,” he said as the first numbers started rolling in.

Wells addressed his supporters, who he called “progressive Democrats,” at around 10:30 p.m. before all the votes came in and thanked them for making him a “major candidate in D.C.” The mic cut out at one point, but he didn’t let that stop him.

“You believe our politics don’t have to be a slave to corporate money,” he said. “This is not the end of anything, This is the beginning. The beginning of a city that we are proud of.”

So now that he effectively gave his concession speech, what’s next for Wells?

Wells says he’s “not done serving our great city” and when asked if he’d consider running for mayor again, he didn’t say no.

“I’m always open,” he said.

Photo by Perry Stein