Former Mayor Marion Barry Jr. overwhelmingly won a Democratic primary victory in a race for a seat on the District of Columbia Council, virtually ensuring his election in November balloting.
There are few registered Republicans in the city, so the winners of Democratic primaries are considered de facto winners of the general elections.
Mr. Barry, who was swept out of the mayor's office in 1990 after being arrested for cocaine possession, won about 70% of the vote to represent the city's Ward 8. He defeated incumbent Wilhelmina J. Rolark, who has represented the ward since 1977.
Mr. Barry's comeback could prove troublesome for Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly.
The mayor has been criticized by some district residents for concentrating on getting the city's finances in order at the expense of other city needs. Mr. Barry made emotional appeals to those who feel disenfranchised under Mayor Kelly's administration and promised to make their voices heard at city hall.
Moreover, Mr. Barry's reemergence as a force in city politics could halt gains Mayor Kelly has made on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers generally have compared her favorably with Mr. Barry. With Mr. Barry on the council, Congress may be less enthusiastic about providing the city with extra support.