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Democrat Muriel Bowser elected District of Columbia mayor

April 1, 2014: Muriel Bowser in Washington.

April 1, 2014: Muriel Bowser in Washington.  (AP)

Democrat Muriel Bowser has been elected mayor of the District of Columbia, continuing her party's perfect record when seeking the city's highest office.

Bowser turned back a challenge by independent David Catania after an unusually long and competitive general-election campaign.

The 42-year-old Bowser is a native Washingtonian who has served on the D.C. Council since 2007. She is a protege of former mayor Adrian Fenty, but she says she's learned from the mistakes that saw him booted from office after a single term.

Bowser defeated scandal-plagued Mayor Vincent Gray in the Democratic primary. She ran as a big-tent Democrat who could appeal equally to wealthy, majority-white neighborhoods and poorer, mostly African-American communities. She was endorsed by President Barack Obama, an unusual development for a mayoral election in the nation's capital.