DC mayor seeks second term amid federal probe

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The embattled mayor of the nation’s capital was trailing his top challenger in initial returns from the city’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, with many voters saying the city needed a fresh start amid a federal investigation of the mayor’s 2010 campaign.

With 38 percent of precincts reporting, D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser had 44 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Mayor Vincent Gray. Bowser has argued that the mayor is distracted by the possibility of criminal charges against him.

The Democratic mayoral primary has historically decided the mayoral race in the heavily Democratic city, although a credible challenger awaits the primary winner in November.

Gray faces seven challengers in the Democratic mayoral primary, and polls have shown him neck-and-neck with D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser. She has said the city needs a fresh start as the mayor faces possible indictment.

Five people involved with Gray’s 2010 campaign have pleaded guilty to felonies. Three weeks ago, federal prosecutors said for the first time that Gray knew about an illegal, $668,000 slush fund that helped him get elected. The mayor has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged. Gray is hoping for high turnout in less affluent areas where he remains popular.

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