D.C. Voters Decide If Barry Will Be the Life of the Party

By Sileo, Chi Chi | Insight on the News, September 26, 1994 | Go to article overview

D.C. Voters Decide If Barry Will Be the Life of the Party


Sileo, Chi Chi, Insight on the News


As the nation's capital gears up for its mayoral primary on Sept. 13, one candidate is standing out among the sea of hopefuls -- former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry.

Barry was the glad-handing, fast-living, corruption-shrouded mayor who came to national attention in 1990 when he was caught -- and videotaped -- smoking crack cocaine in a cheap hotel with a former girlfriend. The videotape, broadcast on news programs around the world, led to Barry's arrest, conviction and a six-month stint in jail. But for anyone who assumed that the scandal was the kiss of death for Barry's political career, the real shock was still to come. Out of prison and claiming to be a new man, Barry returned to the District last year, ran for a seat on the D.C. Council -- and won by a landslide.

And Barry isn't letting his political comeback stop there. He's using his council office as a springboard for getting his old job back. And in a city still reeling from the aftershocks of the Barry regime, with memories of the sordid videotape are still vivid, two questions are hotly debated: How has Barry managed to wrest a comeback out of such seemingly resounding defeat? And what will it mean for the District if he wins?

Polls show that as the primary approaches, Barry has a strong chance of unseating incumbent Sharon Pratt Kelly. That's partly the result of Kelly's missteps, and partly because of Barry's hard work. Currently representing Ward 8, one of the city's poorest and most violent neighborhoods, Barry has solidified his electoral base during his 18 months in office. He has mounted voter-registration drives in the city's poor, black areas -- a traditional source of support for him -- and the increased registration could prove crucial. In the past, the largely white, affluent Wards 3 and 4 were highly influential in mayoral elections, particularly during Kelly's 1990 victory. But the increased registration could give the city's poor, black neighborhoods far more influence than they have had in the past.

A Barry victory, however, could mean more than an embarrassment to many District residents and political observers. The city is already saddled with a huge, notoriously incompetent government bureaucracy and a projected budget deficit of $194 million for fiscal 1995, and has been losing its middle-class tax base at an alarming rate as residents move to the suburbs to escape crime, high taxes and the maddening inefficiency of city services. Barry's critics fear that his reelection could demolish the already-strained relationship between the District and Congress, destroy D.C.'s oft-raised appeals for home rule or statehood, and plunge the nation's capital into an insurmountalbe fiscal crisis.

Still, Barry's ability to bounce back is extraordinary. His 12-year reign -- he won his first mayoral election in 1978 and was dubbed "Mayor-for-Life" by a local columnist -- came to an ignominious end in the infamous incident in a Washington hotel room. Barry's former girlfriend, Rasheeda Moore, had lured the mayor there as part of a sting operation put together by then-U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens, who had been targeting Barry for months. Indeed, rumors of dabblings in drugs, extramarital dalliances in D.C.'s red-light establishments and financial finaglings had long shadowed the mayor. But these rumors, circulated among vice cops, inner-city residents and hospital workers (who claimed that Barry paid predawn detoxification visits to their facilities), were never backed up with hard evidence. And they never gathered enough steam to knock Barry from his tight lock on power.

But the videotape showing Barry smoking crack resulted in a conviction that sent him to the Lorton penitentiary for six months. Barry remained defiant to the bitter end, blaming the white establishment and charging that he had been "set up" by Moore. Many agreed, including about 80 of the city's religious leaders who signed a letter of protest questioning the intent of the sting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

D.C. Voters Decide If Barry Will Be the Life of the Party
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.