Barry's win may bring D.C. problems

September 17, 1992|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- Former Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr.'s !c resounding victory in the Democratic City Council primary on Tuesday raised concerns yesterday over the complications it may bring to Washington as it presses the case for statehood and struggles with urban problems.

Mr. Barry won 70 percent of the vote, defeating the incumbent, Wilhelmina Rolark, by a ratio of 3 to 1. His comeback campaign, which relied heavily on religious and African themes, generated so much interest that turnout in Ward 8, a predominantly black district in southeast Washington, was at a record high.

Because there are few registered Republicans in Ward 8, the city's poorest, the Democratic primary winner is virtually assured of election in November.

The sheer force of Mr. Barry's personality enhanced his popularity. But this forcefulness, combined with the stigma of his arrest and conviction, has led many Washington political and business leaders to argue that his re-emergence could be bad for the city -- particularly those who say the former two-term mayor may try to work his way back to the mayor's office in two years.

But on NBC's "Today" show, Mr. Barry said yesterday that he was "not interested in being mayor.

"I'll do all I can to work with the present mayor and the present City Council to get services and help delivered to Ward 8," he said.

Mr. Barry also asserted that "my own personal situation with alcohol and drugs in the latter years of my administration got me in trouble, not my governing of the great city of Washington."

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