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Politics

Muriel Bowser, D.C. Mayoral Hopeful, Grabs Presidential Endorsement

Endorsement could help Democrat lock up race despite surprisingly strong independent challenge.

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WASHINGTON — Democratic Washington, D.C., mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser on Monday nabbed the endorsement of one of her would-be constituents: President Barack Obama.

Although D.C. mayoral races have traditionally been decided during the Democratic Party's primary thanks to the party's dominance of local politics, Bowser is facing an independent in David Catania. The Obama endorsement will likely boost Bowser's already strong support amongst the city's black voters, with whom Obama still enjoys favorable support.

"Muriel knows that every hardworking D.C. resident deserves the opportunity to get ahead," Obama said in a statement. "That's why she has partnered with local small businesses to create jobs and fought to give the children of D.C. a fair shot by investing in our schools. As mayor, I know she'll continue to bring people together to fight for fair wages, build on the economic progress we've made and ensure teachers and students have the resources they need for success from early childhood education through high school."

The White House infamously stayed out of the 2010 Democratic primary that featured incumbent candidate Adrian Fenty and the current D.C. mayor, Vincent Gray.

Fenty, who's contentious relationship with traditional power bases like the teachers union and religious leaders, found himself polling well behind Gray as Election Day approached in 2010. Although many felt a felt an endorsement of Fenty by Obama could have helped save his campaign, the White House ultimately decided to stay out of the race.

The lack of an endorsement was surprising given the fact that Fenty, to some, had represented leadership in the Obama mold: moneyed and efficient, internet-savvy, and a reformist.

A poll released on Oct. 1 by Economic Growth D.C. showed Bowser enjoying a eight percent lead, with 27 percent of voter undecided.

In a statement, Bowser said she was "extremely honored to receive President Obama's endorsement. We share a progressive vision, believing that we only succeed when opportunity is available to everyone. If the residents of the District of Columbia elect me to be their next mayor on November 4th, I will emulate the President by bringing people together to find solutions to our toughest challenges."

Darren Sands is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Darren Sands at darren.sands@buzzfeed.com.

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