BOWIE – Dufour Woolfley won the March 12 Bowie special election for the District 2 city councilmember seat by a significant margin. The special election followed the city’s first ever recorded recall election, in which voters recalled long-time City Councilwoman Diane Polangin in December. Woolfley claimed the majority with 59.2 percent of the total votes, […]
BOWIE – Dufour Woolfley won the March 12 Bowie special election for the District 2 city councilmember seat by a significant margin. The special election followed the city’s first ever recorded recall election, in which voters recalled long-time City Councilwoman Diane Polangin in December.
Woolfley claimed the majority with 59.2 percent of the total votes, while Polangin came in second with 17.3 percent of the vote. Candidates Pete Mellits, Monica Roebuck and Edward Frazee each received 15.3 percent, 5.7 percent, and 2.5 percent, respectively.
“It is what it is,” Polangin said. “The people have spoken.”
Woolfley described himself as “surprised” at his margin of victory.
“It was a very hard-fought race,” he said. “It was a quick race, because of the limited time, but it was a hard-fought race.”
He described his foremost priorities as a councilmember are “to increase the transparency and representation of the citizens’ interests on the council.”
Woolfley previously served on the city council in 2015, when he filled Todd Turner’s vacant seat as Turner began his term with the Prince George’s County Council. Woolfley later ran unsuccessfully for reelection.
“I’ve been engaged in the community for some time, and like many others, I was concerned with the level of representation of the citizens’ interests and concerns that we have been receiving, and as a result, I committed to running in the (special) election,” Woolfley said.
Local group Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government endorsed Woofley in the race.
“We decided Woolfley aligned most with our group’s mission and our vision for the future of Bowie with the city council that listens to the community, limiting development going forward, and he really had the most independent voice,” said Fiona Moodie, a member of the organization. “We wanted somebody we who could trust to be making the decision for himself, and not involved in any other developers’ business.”
Woolfley said this election was about the state of the community rather than just about his position as a candidate.
“This is more than about me,” Woolfley said. “This is not about one candidate. This really is about a much larger effort and much larger feeling in the community, and I think that’s why we are where we are today.”
More than 3,000 District 2 residents signed a petition in November to recall Polangin, who has served as a city councilwoman since 2007. The ensuing election resulted in a 69.23 percent vote for the recall with 30.77 percent against the decision.
Local organization Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government led the effort to recall her.
According to their website, the group “advocate (s) for maintaining the suburban character of Bowie, the addition of a second high school, maintaining green spaces and limiting development in the city to an appropriate needs-based level.”
Members of Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government contend Polangin has been unresponsive to residents’ needs to instead support developers in the city. Polangin has previously denied these charges.
“I’m not unresponsive to the residents,” Polangin said in a December interview with The Sentinel. “I’m the most responsive to the residents.”
Her vote for the Marketplace Apartments, which the city council approved January 2017, prompted a strong backlash from residents.
“If anybody says I’m not listening to them, I don’t know,” Polangin said in December. “I worked with (the developer) to bring down the number of apartments. I was upholding the law.”
Polangin said she would stay involved in the city of Bowie through work on committees.
“I was a city activist before,” she said. “This is my city. I’ll always be involved.”
Moodie said the Monday night election has only encouraged Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government. They intend to push for more recalls for elected officials though she said she is “not ready to disclose” who those will be. The organization plans to make an announcement on the matter in the next 10 days.