Clarke wins nomination for City Council presidency Incumbent gains 90%, will face Cobb in Nov.

September 13, 1991|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

Incumbent Mary Pat Clarke easily swept aside token opposition by community activist Daki Napata to win the Democratic nomination in the City Council president race.

Clarke garnered 76,327 votes -- 90.41 percent of the 84,420 votes cast in the race. Meanwhile, Napata received a mere 8,093 votes.

Clarke will run against Republican Anthony D. Cobb in the general election in November. Cobb ran without opposition and picked up 3,581 votes in yesterday's primary election.

Clarke campaigned vigorously even though Napata lacked financing and a viable campaign organization. At one point, Napata dropped out of the race, only to return three weeks later.

Clarke, 50, put her political reputation on the line by supporting a controversial councilmanic redistricting plan. She also campaigned for her former aide, George E. Brent, who failed to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in the 3rd District. Brent received 6,054 votes -- 192 fewer than incumbent councilman Wilbur E. Cunningham, who came in third in the balloting with 6,246 votes.

Clarke was jubilant when she learned late last night that a black candidate, Melvin L. Stukes, was a winner in the 6th District Democratic primary. Redistricting created black voting majorities in the 3rd and 6th districts. Clarke and other proponents of redistricting hoped the plan would increase the liklihood that blacks would win council seats in the 3rd and the 6th, districts that have never had black council members.

After her victory, Clarke said the most pressing issue facing the new council is how to wrestle with the recession-riddled economy.

"We have to build toward economic revival," she said. "We've got to help retirees who can't make ends meet and the young people who can't afford insurance rates."

Napata, 39, was the only Democrat willing to step up and take on the popular Clarke.

After redistricting, some city political leaders tried to talk a number of people into running against Clarke. But there were no takers until shortly before the election.

In a surprise move, state Sen. George A. Della, Jr., D-City, entered the race on July 5, the filing deadline. Della's campaign lasted 10 days before he withdrew, citing personal reasons.

Napata originally planned to run in the Democratic mayoral campaign. But he dropped that campaign to challenge Clarke. A short time after Napata entered the City Council president's race, he announced that he was dropping out of the race. Napata attributed that decision to his failure to get the endorsement of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, an organization of black ministers, for which he had worked. He also accused the media of ignoring his campaign. Three weeks later, he re-entered the race, but his campaign never got off the ground.

Council president


*Mary Pat Clarke*... ... ... 76,327... ... ...90.41%

Daki Napata... ... ... ... ..8,093... ... ... 9.58%

Republican *Anthony D. Cobb... ... ... . 3,581... ... ..Unopp.

Unofficial results. Votes tallied: 100%


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