Muriel E. Bowser, a low-key but politically canny District lawmaker, won the Democratic mayoral nomination Tuesday, emerging from a pack of challengers in a low-turnout primary to deny scandal-tarnished incumbent Vincent C. Gray a second term.
The 41-year-old D.C. Council member triumphed in the latest in a string of District elections to reveal a city unsettled over the shape of its future. Bowser’s win heralds many more months of uncertainty as she faces a substantial general-election challenger while a lame-duck Gray is left to steer the city amid the threat of federal indictment.
Bowser (D-Ward 4) moved deftly to capitalize on public doubts about Gray’s trustworthiness fueled by the still-unresolved federal corruption investigation into his 2010 campaign. Alone among seven Democratic challengers, she amassed a coalition that crossed demographic and geographic lines allowing her to outpoll Gray’s shrunken but steady base of African American voters.