chapter  9
19 Pages

Th e Declining Signifi cance of Race: Adrian Fenty and the Smooth Electoral Transition

WithRACHEL YON

In the District of Columbia, race has always played a major issue in the campaigns and administrations of public offi cials, particularly mayors. Th is was clearly seen in the campaigns and/or administrations of Mayors Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly, and Anthony Williams, who either appealed to racial solidarity or were accused of racial distancing. However, when Adrian Fenty ran to succeed Anthony Williams in 2006, race was hardly an issue in the all-important primary campaign. How could race apparently not matter in a city steeped in Black Nationalism, and how can it not be used against a candidate such a Fenty, a biracial Black man with a tremendous crossover appeal?