Washington, D.C. mayoral election, 1974

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Washington, D.C. held its first direct mayoral election on November 5, 1974. It followed the passage of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act by the U.S. Congress in 1973. The election was won by Democrat Walter Washington.

As with every mayoral election that followed, the 1974 race was at its most intense in the Democratic Primary, with 90 percent of DC's voters registered as Democrats.[1] The primary contest was a seven-person race, but the highest profile candidates were Walter Washington, then incumbent as the presidentially appointed Mayor-Commissioner, and Clifford Alexander, Jr., former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Washington was by far the favorite at the start of the campaign in May 1974, but tightened as the September primary drew closer. Washington won the September 10 primary, 53%-47%.[2]

1974 Washington, D.C. mayoral election results
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Walter Washington 79,065 82.45
Independent Sam Harris 7,037 7.34
Independent Jackson R. Champion 3,501 3.65
Independent Raymond V. Ellis 2,787 2.91
Socialist Workers Nan Bailey 2,230 2.33
Independent Tommye Lynn Grant 1,273 1.33
Majority 72,028 75.11
Turnout 95,893


  1. ^ Harry S. Jaffe and Tom Sherwood. Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington D.C. Simon & Schuster, 1994, p.62
  2. ^ Matthews, Jay (October 11, 1999). "City's 1st Mayoral Race, as Innocent as Young Love". Washington Post. p. A1.