District voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to make the nation’s capital its 51st state on Tuesday, with pollgoers saying they hope the vote puts pressure on the next Congress and president to address D.C.’s lack of representation in Congress.
Voters in the District’s Ward 7, east of the Anacostia River, also resurrected the political career of former mayor Vincent C. Gray (D). They sent him back to the D.C. Council less than a year after prosecutors abandoned a campaign finance investigation that factored heavily in Gray’s failed 2014 reelection bid.
“I can’t wait to get back — I love public service,” said an ebullient Gray, 74, just after sunrise Tuesday, as he arrived to vote at a senior center in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Chauffeured in a black SUV by a longtime aide and sporting a black leather bomber jacket that read “Mayor Gray,” the candidate said he would entertain a future comeback campaign for mayor. “We’ll see. I won’t rule anything out,” he said, breaking into a smile.