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Harry Thomas, Democratic candidate for
Ward 5 Councilmember in the
September 10, 2002, primary election
Press release predicting primary victory
September 9, 2002

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Harry Thomas 2002
Putting People First
2127 Rhode Island Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20018
(202) 529-7511

Campaign Headquarters (202) 529-7511


Washington, D.C., September 9, 2002 – Harry Thomas Jr. is poised to dethrone incumbent Vincent Orange in the Ward 5 Democratic primary on Tuesday, September 10. The Thomas campaign’s internal polling shows challenger Thomas leading Orange by 10 percentage points in key precincts. “In the past three weeks, we have seen our internal polling shoot up as previously undecided voters turn to Harry,” said Finis Jones, campaign manager. Joslyn Williams, head of the region’s labor unions commented, “If Vegas was handicapping this race in Ward 5, and I was a betting man, I would put my money on Harry Thomas Jr.” The labor unions, through the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO endorsed Thomas early in the race, the only chal! lenger to receive labor’s endorsement. 

Although Orange, a pro-business lawyer and accountant, raised more money due to business contributions, the Thomas’ campaign attracted volunteers from throughout the ward to help spread the candidate’s message. Their hard work hitting the pavement and manning the phones has paid off. Most observers, including some in Mayor Anthony Williams’ camp, predict that Ward 5 will be the only race to experience a changing of the guard. Thomas garnered key support from grassroots leaders, churches, labor unions and community groups, who were attracted to his campaign platform of “putting people first.”

Republican Edward Henry Wolterbeek is running unopposed in the Republican primary in the heavily Democratic ward. Thomas campaign officials and neutral observers predict an easy win for Harry Thomas Jr. in the general election November 5, 2002. 

About the Candidate: Harry L. Thomas Jr. is a third generation Washingtonian and a lifelong resident of Ward 5. He is the founder and director of a community-based non-profit which provides after school sports and enrichment activities for the children of Ward 5. He is a member of the Democratic State Committee, a former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and a past-president of D.C. Young Democrats. Thomas is married to Diane and is the father of three sons and one daughter. Thomas’ father, Harry Thomas Sr. was a popular and effective representative of Ward 5 for twelve years until he lost to Orange by less than 400 votes in 1998. Harry Thomas Sr. died shortly after his defeat and all four of the District’s living mayors (Walter Washington, Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Dixon, and Anthony Williams) attended his funeral, the first time all four had been together. 

About Ward 5: Ward 5 is one of the District of Columbia’s eight political wards, encompassing much of Northeast Washington, but parts of Northwest as well. Ward 5 is a key “swing ward” in District politics -- according to a Washington Post article of August 19, 2002, most city wide races in the District are decided in Wards 4 and 5. Ward 5 is also the ward with the most single family homes. Ward 5 includes the neighborhoods of Brookland, Woodridge, Lincoln Park, Michigan Park, and Ivy City. 

For more information or to arrange an interview with the candidate, please contact campaign headquarters at (202) 529-7511.

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