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Mendelson challenger Clark Ray behind in fundraising

Washington Post Editors

Clark Ray, former director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, is not yet competitive with D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson in the hunt for campaign cash in this year's battle for an at-large seat on the council.

Mendelson, who is seeking his fourth term, has $130,000 in the bank, according to his campaign finance report. He has more than doubled the amount he had in the bank at this time four years ago, when he was facing what was supposed to be a stiff challenge from attorney A. Scott Bolden.

Mendelson has raised $60,000 since August, and spent less than $1,000 during the quarter.

Ray, who is Mendelson's only challenger in this year's Democratic primary, reported Monday that he's raised $80,000, including a $15,000 personal loan to his campaign. Ray spent $38,000, leaving him with $42,000 in the bank.

Before Ray announced his candidacy last fall, Peter Rosenstein, a Ray adviser, was quoted as saying that the campaign had $200,000 in commitments. Ray held a fundraiser in October featuring Tipper Gore, which Rosenstein told the Washington City Paper raised $50,000.

Rosenstein said he's still confident that Ray is well-positioned to raise enough money to be competitive with Mendelson, saying the commitments "are still there." Rosenstein noted that, even without the $15,000 loan, Ray collected more than Mendelson did in this period.

"I think his fundraising is fantastic," Rosenstein said. "For a three-month campaign that no one has paid any attention to, it's amazing."

Many of Ray's donations have come from low-dollar contributions, including a couple from newsworthy sources.

According to his report, Michaele and Tareq Salahi each gave Ray $20. The Salahis became a media sensation late last year when they showed up at a White House state dinner, even though they were apparently not invited.

Ray has also collected $35 from Donna-Watts Brighthaupt. Brighthaupt is council member Marion Barry's (D-Ward 8) ex-girlfriend. Brighthaupt made national news last summer when Barry was arrested on allegations that he was stalking her. Barry was quickly cleared of any wrongdoing.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 1, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , D.C. Council , Marion Barry , Tim Craig  
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How on earth did Rosenstein get Ray to give $15,000 to his own campaign? And what the hell Ray/Rosenstein spend $38,000 on and still "no one has paid any attention to" him? Maybe Clark should sign an MOU with the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development to run his campaign. He's good at whipping up one of those when he finds he can't do the work himself.

Posted by: DistrictIndependent | February 1, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

The Salahi's proved by making their most generous huge donation to Ray, how much they think he is worth!

Posted by: Loviedarling | February 2, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

12 years of hiding in the Wilson Building and what exactly has it gotten the taxpayers?

Posted by: billthrice | February 2, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

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