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Ray Ready to Make It Official in Council Race

Clark E. Ray, the former director of Parks and Recreation, is done exploring, and is ready to jump into next year's race for the Democratic nomination for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Ray launched his exploratory campaign in early May, a few weeks after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) replaced him at Parks and Recreation. Fenty's decision angered the city's gay community because Ray was the only openly gay member of the cabinet.

Peter Rosenstein, a longtime gay rights activists who headed Ray's exploratory effort, issued a statement today saying the candidate will officially enter the race Sept. 12. Ray will likely face Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) in the primary. Mendelson has held the seat since 1999.

"I have been traveling throughout the District and met with thousands of people who have told me they support me and want me to run," Ray told his supporters, according to the statement. "They have convinced me that not only can we win this race with their help, but that this is the way I can best continue to serve all the people of the District."

In making the announcement, Rosenstein took several shots at Mendelson. He said Ray will "push forward with EDUCATION REFORM" and that voters "support Ray in his belief that we need to be TOUGH ON CRIME."

Mendelson has been skeptical of some of Fenty's school reform and crime-fighting efforts. But Mendelson has proven himself to be a surprisingly resilient opponent. Despite being the perceived underdog, Mendelson defeated attorney A. Scott Bolden by 64 to 36 percent in the 2006 Democratic primary.

Mendelson has been skeptical of some of Fenty's school reform and crime-fighting efforts. But Mendelson has proven himself to be a surprisingly resilient opponent. Despite being the perceived underdog, Mendelson defeated attorney A. Scott Bolden by 64 to 36 percent in the 2006 Democratic primary.

"Elections for incumbents are about reapplying for the job, and I welcome the opportunity," said Mendelson, who has already raised twice as money as he had at this stage of his 2006 reelection campaign.

Mendelson also directly responded to the Ray supporters' veiled attacks about his record on education and crime.

"I have a daughter in public schools and care deeply about seeing our schools improve," Mendelson said. "It if becomes an issue in this campaign, the issue will be about what's the best way to achieve that."

Mendelson, the chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary who helped derail Fenty's controversial gang initiative this year, added "crime lends itself to grandstanding."

By Tim Craig  |  August 18, 2009; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , Tim Craig  
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Comments

Education reform Fenty style? No thank you.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 18, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Right, Candycane - I've just found out everything I need to know about Ray.

Posted by: efavorite | August 18, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

In complete agreement with candycane1 and efavorite, Mr. Ray is not any where near what D.C. needs.... another Dem. (supported by the childless) claiming education reform!
Apparently, Mr. Mendleson is loosing his gay supporters. A gay disusing another gay in D.C.?
Either way, Mr. Ray seeking gay political endorsement is not a heterosexual benefit for children who are in their stage of self-identity and without a father or a mother in their lives. The dilemma in D.C. schools is directly related to fatherless children, a liability to D.C. Public Schools ability to teach to balance and parents who firmly are not gay single-sex households only.
My Ray appears to undermine parentage and "gay" life style influence of D.C.'s gay government for anything at any cost. Mr. Ray should not "claim" D.C. Democratic Party. A euphemism for "gay" only government, and plantation bread one (gay) political party only government.

Posted by: eglobegus | August 18, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Rosenstein just sold me on Mendelson. What we DON'T need is another Fenty/Nickles rubber stamp on the Council.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I will not vote for anyone who is a Fenty supporter, or who even speaks the same language. To me, Mendelson (who I never voted for) has been a hero. One of the few councilmembers willing to stand up to the Fenty Administration. Mendelson definately has won my vote.

Posted by: tm7333 | August 18, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

We cannot let Ray win. This was all a ploy set in motion by Fenty himself. There was an agreement in place: Fenty would fire Ray so that Ray would be free to run for Council - just to defeat Mendelson. Ray will always feel indebted to Fenty. Did anyone read his comments after he got "fired?" There was no bashing or negative remarks. Ray wasn't upset; he knew he was getting a sweeter deal.

Mendelson has my vote and I will happily join his campaign.

Posted by: concernedcitizenindc | August 18, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I will join his campaign as well. I won't sign petitions to get Clark or Fenty's names on the ballot. Even though the council has made me extremely angry, it has been Mendelson who stood alone on issues. He never felt a need to join the "group". He voted against a mayoral takeover, at will employees because it destroys civil service and he fought like hell not to confim Nickles. The rest of that bunch should have listened to him. Now look where we are today.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 19, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Good luck, Ray. Along with shutting down child care centers and installing heaters in pools for the Mayor as head of Parks & Recreation, you make yet another brilliant decision in hitching your wagon to Rosenstein. Be prepared to suffer the same fate as his other "projects" like Adam Clampitt and Cary Silverman.

Posted by: NewBossOldBoss | August 19, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

Fenty and his group is doing a great job rooting out the crappy teachers unions and vested interests that plague this city. Mendelson is part of the problem, not the solution. He grandstands and talks about fixing problems, but he's been on the council long enough that his abysmal record speaks for itself.

Posted by: FormerMCPSStudent | August 19, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

concernedcitizenindc I am with you and candycane1. This was all a set up from the start. It's two fold. Ray always was and always will be a Fenty puppet. They came up with the plan to have him publicly fired so that when the law suit (the guy that made Fentys boys play their correct age) went to court, Fenty could say he didn't know anything about it and the guy that did it is no longer his employee AND so it would look like he wasnt a fan of Rays because Bowser had so much trouble during her election because she was in Fentys pocket. They were hoping Ray would "APPEAR" to be independant of Fenty and avoid all of that this time.

Fenty already has Bowser, Evans and Graham 100% in his pocket and others that come and go based on his need of them. All he needs is one more and he can control the council. VOTE NO FOR RAY

Posted by: my2centsis | August 20, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

my2centsis, it is all about balance in my perspective. If you are correct about the theatrics of Fenty/Ray that would be pretty presumptuous of Fenty considering he himself will stand judgment before the people on election day. And he has nowhere near the support he had in 2006. I, for one, will not be supporting him nor his rubber stamp in my ward, Tommy Wells who has allowed DYRS to release dangerous youth back into District neighborhoods after it has been recommended by judges that they be detained and treated.

Mendleson and Cheh have been the voice of reason on this Council. Kwame Brown did the unforgivable with his "present" vote when it came time to confirm Peter Nickles. He did what is safe and what is weak.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 20, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I will not be voting for another gay white male on the D.C. City Council. We have 2 gay white Councilmembers already and I wonder about the other white males being liberal gays on the downlow. Is D.C. becoming a city run by white liberal gay white men? This D.C. voter will not be voting for Ray Clark.

Posted by: Ward4DC | August 20, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Presumptuous = Fenty...

If you check the definition in websters, that's what you'll find. I'll bet you can not HINT to Fenty that he's in trouble.

Of course, if we (citizens) don't all get together and agree to back 1 candidate against him, it may be US who are in trouble. If we split the vote enough, he may be able to slide back in. I wouldn't put it past him to get a few dummies into the race to do just that if only one strong candidate challenges him.

We have got to pull together. What Brown did was horrible and I bet he regrets his decision every day but he is small time and insignificant in the great picture. I'm of a mind to see his whole picture before I completely cancel him out but he's on shaky ground now.....

Tommy Wells.... HAS TO GO!

Posted by: my2centsis | August 20, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Fenty IS presumptuous!!! He holds himself above the law and expects everything he says to get done, regardless of how it is done. He is an arrogant SOB. I'm just waiting for someone to reveal some good dirt on him as I think that that is the only way he will lose the next election.

Posted by: concernedcitizenindc | August 20, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Ray thinks Mendelson isn't "TOUGH ON CRIME" because Mendelson didn't approve Fenty's proposal of an Apartheid style policing of African American males on street corners without their, "I AIN'T NO GANG MEMBER ID!"

Ray will be in for a rude awakening if he continues to regurgitate Fenty’s foul and racist tenets.

Posted by: dcnatives | August 21, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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