Washington DC has a Mayor’s Race Dem Primary….

photo of the Democratic Primary DC Mayor candidates ….Washington Post….

The winner of the Democratic Primary will get the job….

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray’s job isn’t the only thing at stake in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

The city’s relationship with Congress could change significantly, depending on the results of the eight-person race.

Since Washington was granted the right to hold local elections in 1973, the city’s ties to Congress have often triggered anxiety. But this election is particularly fraught as federal prosecutors allege that Gray knew of an illegal fundraising scheme during his last race and could indict the mayor.

Gray has vigorously denied any wrongdoing and insists he won’t step down — even if he is indicted.

It’s a level of drama that hasn’t surrounded a citywide election at least since the days of Marion Barry’s administration, a period in which Congress established a board to oversee the city’s finances. Congress has taken a somewhat more hands-off approach in recent years, and for now key lawmakers expect it to stay that way.

“I realize there is a controversy, but we stay out of the election,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose panel has jurisdiction over the city’s affairs. “If there is a new mayor, we would hope that he or she would continue the same level [of communication] we’ve enjoyed under” Gray.

Washington’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, said the city should resolve the controversy on its own.

“District officials and the people of the District are attending to their own business well, and the mayoral election should have no effect on congressional business,” a spokesperson for Holmes Norton said in a statement. “The congresswoman is pleased that the Congress and its oversight committees have observed home rule and have allowed the District to work out its own issues through the electoral and legal processes.”

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“We are faced with a field of candidates that almost make making a decision a mockery, and nearly an act of futility,” said the Rev. Graylan Hagler, the politically active senior pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast, who contributed $100 to Gray as recently as last week. From the pulpit, Hagler all but urged his congregation not to vote, saying no candidate was worthy of support.

That perspective, coupled with the dismal early voting numbers, increased urgency among the candidates to turn out supporters on Tuesday. The weather gave the weekend’s campaigning a desultory feel.

Gray took a languid caravan ride through Ward 7 on Saturday, then stumped from the pulpit of an African American church in Ward 8 on Sunday, trying to perk up his most devoted supporters.

Bowser (D-Ward 4) stood with her hair tucked under a drenched baseball cap and her heels sunk two inches into mud outside a Northeast polling place Saturday, appealing to the trickle of voters there.

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