D.C.

Bowser, Wells, Evans give Gray a run for his money for Tuesday's primary

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Tuesday's primary will determine who will win the Democratic nomination for mayor.Current Mayor Vincent Gray faces a number of challengers.

ABC7 spoke with the mayor's top challengers about their plans and visions for the city. For the past year, they have been reaching out to voters to build up support.

Ballots show a possible upset over incumbent Mayor Gray, as support for Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser grows.

Meeting up with us recently, she says the whole city deserves the kind of growth that she has seen in her ward.

"We are on the brink of taking our city to the next level," Bowser said. "We still have political leadership that is not leading us in the right direction."

All of the top challengers have recognized that D.C. has made remarkable gains, but still, point to troubling trends - a rising crime level, job losses and homelessness. Numbers released Friday show that this is the fifth consecutive month of job losses for the district.

Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, another mayoral hopeful, said he is proud of his record of working with developers to create jobs.

"Nobody running for mayor, including the current mayor, has created as many jobs in the city as I have," Evans told ABC7.

Evans points to recent work of his such as the development of the new convention center hotel as an example.

"Six-hundred district residents will be employed, many of whom did not have jobs before," he pointed out. "It is one example of many that I would do as mayor to get our residents back to work."

However, In his campaign, Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells has criticized his opponents, including Evans and Mayor Gray, for allowing what calls a system of  "pay to play" for developers.

"The one thing that will kill off the growth of our city is a system of corruption," Wells told ABC7.

Wells said he believes transportation and education are key to economic growth.

Bowser points to better managing of job training programs and creating new public-private partnerships as ways more of D.C. can share in the city's growth - but that would take a new CEO for the city, she said.

"We cannot go into four more years in our city with this cloud hanging over us. We deserve better," she said. "We deserve a focused mayor who can concentrate on the issues of district residents, and now his own personal or legal issues."

Early voting wrapped up on Saturday, and primary day is Tuesday. Polls will be open for district residents from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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