WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Challenger Vincent Gray took the early lead over Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty in the District of Columbia's Democratic primary Tuesday, results showed.
Counting began after a judge rejected a request by Gray, the City Council chairman, to keep the polls open longer. Initial results posted online by The Washington Post gave Gray 4,145 votes to 2,721 for Fenty (59 percent to 39 percent).
Early voting that began 15 days earlier had Gray leading by 13 percentage points, CNN had reported.
In Democrat-dominated Washington, the winner of the primary will be the overwhelming favorite in the November general election. A Washington Post poll had indicated Gray led Fenty 49 percent to 36 percent among registered Democratic voters and 53 percent to 36 percent when factoring all those likely to cast ballots in the primary.
An attorney representing Gray, Andrew Sandler, argued unsuccessfully in Superior Court that problems at polling places were "much more severe and widespread" than election officials acknowledged. That, he said, deprived city residents of their right to vote.
Counsel for the city election board and Fenty convinced the court Gray's concerns were overstated and poorly documented, the Post said.
In the Democratic battle for Washington's lone -- and non-voting -- representative in Congress, advisory neighborhood commissioner Douglass Sloan was trailing incumbent Eleanor Holmes Norton by a wide margin in the early going, 9 percent to 90.5 percent (605 to 6,129).