Bowser’s win marks a historic victory in the district, setting the stage for her to become the first D.C. mayor to hold office for three consecutive terms since the district gained autonomous rule in 1975. Winning the Democratic nomination was paramount for Bowser’s reelection campaign, as the deep blue district typically elects Democrats in the general election.
The two-term mayor was first elected in 2014 and has enjoyed high approval ratings among voters for the majority of her term. Bowser cruised to reelection in 2018, facing almost no serious opposition.
Bowser also had the advantage of national name recognition, rising to fame within the Democratic Party for her efforts in gaining D.C. statehood and navigating the district through the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Bowser also ran into roadblocks throughout her campaign as challengers criticized the city’s rising crime rate and housing costs during her seven years in office. As a result, her high approval ratings experienced a drop over the last two years.
Rising crime rates and the presence of homelessness became top priorities for district voters in the midterm elections, with candidates touting different solutions to increase public safety in Washington, D.C., as police reported a 14% increase in homicides in 2021 compared to 2020, according to data from the Metropolitan Police Department.
As a result, the incumbent made addressing crime a focal point of her campaign, introducing legislation that would increase the number of officers on the police force and offer hiring bonuses as an incentive for recruitment. Bowser also touted decreasing rates of homelessness during her term, reporting the lowest number of homeless residents in 17 years.
Bowser will face Republican candidate Stacia Hall, who won the GOP nomination after facing no primary challenger, in the Nov. 8 election.