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Vincent Gray to challenge Mayor Fenty

D.C. Council chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) will announce Tuesday afternoon he will challenge Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) for the Democratic nomination for mayor, sources said.

Gray will file his paperwork for mayor about 1:45 p.m Tuesday at the Office of Campaign Finance at the Reeves Center on U Street, sources said.

In a brief meeting with reporters before a committee hearing, Gray refused to confirm or deny reports he is preparing to enter the race.

"I am going to conduct this education hearing right now," Gray said. "I'm going to move on with this hearing. At the subsequent point I have something to talk about. I will talk about it."

Gray's expected mayoral bid sets the stage for a contentious battle over the city's future leadership.

Elected in 2006 after he swept every precinct in the city, Fenty can point to a drop in the homicide rate, improving test scores and new parks, bicycle paths and recreational facilities that he says are improving residents' qualify of life.

But Fenty, 39, has been criticized for what some call his aloof or, even, arrogant, personality. In recent months, Fenty has also been dogged with questions about his ethics, including his administration's decision to dole out contracts to his friends and political supporters.

A Fenty campaign spokesman was not immediately available to comment.

Gray, 67, is widely known as a deliberate consensus builder. A native Washingtonian, Gray hopes he can tap into voter unease about Fenty's style while still convincing residents he will continue to build on some of the mayor's successes, such as improving student test scores.

Gray may also have to address his own questions about whether he paid market value for improvements on his house last year.

But Gray's first hurdle will be raising enough money to stay competitive with Fenty, who has already banked $4 million. Many observers say Gray, who has no money in his council campaign account, will have to quickly raise at least $1 million for the race.

With Gray apparently giving up his council seat, there will be likely be a scramble to replace him as council chairman. D.C. Council member Kwame Brown (D-At large) and council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) are the two most widely mentioned names as possible candidates, but other members or community leaders' will also likely consider the race.

--Nikita Stewart and Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 29, 2010; 1:08 PM ET
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Competition is good.

Posted by: DagnyT | March 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

This is GREAT news! He's got my vote!!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | March 29, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm voting for him!

Posted by: linroy62 | March 29, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Finally, the Fenty hate machine now have something to fruitlessly spend their millions on.

Note to Gray: Don't go all Linda Cropp negative. Just stick to the facts and let the Mayor's own track record speak for itself. People in this city dislike Fenty for many different reasons.

Concentrate on getting people out to vote.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 29, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

You have my vote, Mr. Gray!

Posted by: fivetogo | March 29, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@concernedaboutdc, you are right, Mr. Gray should stick to the mess that Fenty has done to this Capital City.

Posted by: fivetogo | March 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

A big part of being Mayor of DC is posing for photo ops and going out shaking hands of dignitaries. Gray is kinda creepy looking! Not to sound totally superficial, but I can't vote for him for this very reason alone.

Someone needs to get him on some kind of makeover tv show.

Posted by: dude7 | March 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Gray replacing Fenty will be like Obama after Bush. But, he can do it and restore DC to the prominence it deserves. Looking forward to working hard to get him elected.

Posted by: winston61 | March 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I am not a fan of Fenty, but I don't think Gray can beat him. Ageism is at play here, and I don't necessarily believe that Gray is any more ethical.

Posted by: forgetthis | March 29, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Gray has got some serious problem.

1. As we've all seen over the past year, his "ethics" issues are as numerous and ridiculous as Fenty's.

2. He can count out Wards 7 and 8. After the way Marion Barry begged him to ignore the investigation into him (Gray had no choice, so lets not pretend he did the honorable thing here), Barry won't let any of his "flock" vote for Gray after the perceived "back stabbing".

3. The majority of the upper crust white folk in NW (as seen by the WaPo poll a few weeks ago) still think Fenty is the bees knees. Their roads are paved, their neighborhood schools and parks have gotten lots of money dumped into them. They overwhelmingly approve of his appointment of Rhee and think that he is doing about as well as can be expected out of this town.

Conclusion : Is Fenty perfect? Of course not, but Gray doesn't have a chance.

Posted by: Nosh1 | March 29, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for him if it means getting rid of Fenty.

Posted by: candycane1 | March 29, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I got my checkbook out. Where can I make a donation?

Posted by: starclimber9 | March 29, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The games begin. This race will be nasty and Fenty will show his true colors.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 29, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1, you have it backward, a snowball stands a better chance in Hades than Fenty does in getting the voters of Ward 7 or 8 to vote for him. Every cut he has made has negatively impacted the real lives of those residents. People have lost significantly under the Fenty Administration.

Gray only needs to stick to substance and allow Fenty's antics while in office speak for themselves.

There are a multitude of reasons that Fenty has lost in polls in a run against Gray.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 29, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who likes Fenty as Mayor, then get ready to watch him lose! Adrian Fenty has divided this City long enough, plus him and his friends have benefited off the contracts and other perks. Fenty in most eyes are Public Enemy #1 in many folks eyes across the District, and that is a fact! Another FACT Fenty has abandoned many areas in Ward 4 and that he will pay for dearly!

Voting for Gray, sure I will anyone but Fenty is my thing this upcoming Election. Anyone would be a better fit than the Arrogant Adrian Fenty, and watching his defeat might just knock that "CHIP" of his shoulders! Last, Nosh1 you must understand one thing, Fenty will not get Wards 7 or 8 votes either, and even today the Whites in the District still don't out number the Black and other Minority Voters here! And YES, folks HATE Fenty more than they could ever Hate Gray!

Posted by: ifordc | March 29, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@dude7 that has to be the most shallowest reason I have ever heard. Fenty's certainly nothing to rave about either!

Posted by: haysgirl66 | March 29, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Fenty being challenged is a welcome sign in DC!!! He will not get my vote. As a matter of fact, I will be a major player in the streets partitioning for his defeat. He has done absolutely nothing substantial for Wards 7 and 8. Drop in homicide rate, false; improving test scores, lies;new parks and recreational facilities, definitely not true. Time to Go!

Posted by: daughterofold | March 29, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I am cache-ing this page so after the election, I can see how folk slike "concernedaboutdc" like the taste of their foot in mouth-sandwich.

You don't get it. Fenty hasn't "taken" anything away from SE, just as Barry has never given them anything. The SE vote has never been about "what did I get" (depsite the appearance) because SE hated Mayor Williams and that man spent more money in Wards 7, and 8 in one term than Barry did in all of his.

The vote in those wards goes the way Barry wants it to go, whether it makes sense or not. Barry could tell them to vote for Nicolas Sarkozy, and despite the fact that they wouldn't have a clue he was the President of France, or a white guy, they would dutifully run to the ballot box and write in his name.

And really, Fenty's antics? Only children are concerned or care about how he apparently "snubbed" the council when it came to baseball tickets.

And this "ohh, bad" investigation into friends contractors. The Council has had a year to investigate and they haven't. They've actually all voted to allow the work to continue (including Gray) in the meantime. The public, as I mentioned above aren't going to take it seriously if the Council themselves don't and regardless, there have been dozens of parks that have been retrofitted, 3-4 libraries and dozens of schools during his tenure that he will rightfully take credit for.

Grays only record comes from his wishy-washy grandstanding in front of the cameras to ridicule Fenty, but his own compliance on the council makes his assertions look even more ridiculous in comparison.

Lastly, Gray has quite a few of his own ethics violations that will be used against him. Every single criticism that Gray could possibly throw at Fenty (and I will admit, there are a bunch) can be thrown right back in Grays face.

So lets see...who is the city to pick. A guy with a massive war chest and a record for throwing billions at public infrastructure and making more progress in the city schools than occurred in the 10 years before him, or some wishy washy, ethics challenged whiner who got his feelings hurt because the mayor didn't give him his box seats?

Posted by: Nosh1 | March 29, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't believe the hype for Gray.

Posted by: bigrho | March 29, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

If counted as a state, DC has one of the top-ten worst unemployment rates in thr country. How can Fenty possibly stay in office?

Posted by: Aerowaz | March 29, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1 it was you that definitively said that Fenty was going to win in Ward 7 and 8, not I. We'll let the people of those wards speak for themselves.

I, unlike you, am not "emotional" over the election of politicians. So it is doubtful that you will garnish any pleasure one way or the other if you expect a rise out me. It just won't happen.

Fenty has lost polls among probable District voters in a race against Gray for more than one reason. Whether they are big or small does not matter in politics. Perception is reality to voters on the local, state and national stage.

Politics 101

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | March 29, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse


Not only is your derision of Ward 7 and 8 voters revolting, but it reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of D.C. politics on your part.

Vincent Gray was the Ward 7 representative prior to becoming Chairman, so how would Marion Barry be able to influence his former constituents against him?

As for the voters of Ward 8, they have a personal connection with Barry that transcends politics. Many of them are grateful for the way he takes care of the elderly in the Ward, as a Ward 8 resident recently shared with me. And they believe that he fights for the concerns of his constituents. Why, I remember when I visited New York a couple of years ago, I stopped in to a store run by an African American woman in Harlem. When I told her where I was from, she launched into a speech about how much she admires Marion Barry and would not let anyone say anything negative about him in her presence. Need I say more? You may not understand it. I don't even understand it sometimes. But we have to acknowledge that the bond between Barry and his constituents is authentic.

As for Gray, where and when do I sign up to work on the campaign?

Posted by: vscribe | March 29, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Nosh 1, your monolithic stereotype of those of us who live East of the River is sorely misguided. And the vitriolic undertone of your comments is even more shocking. The tenor and substance of your comments is one of many reasons why Fenty is on the rocks with voters - we're just sick of the finger-pointing and nastiness. Here's a novel thoguht: if you really are a Fenty supporter, why not focus your comments on the positive things he's accomplished rather than deriding those who challenge him, or those that you believe won't vote for him?

BTW, Ward 7 Hillcrest residents drafted Williams to run fo mayor. We have not forgotten all of the projects he put in motion that Fenty is now getting credit for in Wards 7 and 8 (i.e., Penn Ave. Great Streets Initiative, the new Giant, to name a few).

Posted by: hikaya | March 29, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The 266 DCPS Wrongfully Terminated Employees have your back Chairman Gray!!!
United We Stand!

Enough is Enough, Rhee must GO!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | March 29, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang, this Post pseudonym dates when I signed up, doesn't it?

I am disillusioned with Fenty, who made some very specific promises that he failed to live up to. I am embarrassed to post with this pseudonym, indeed. Question is, will Gray be any better?

Posted by: fentysupporter | March 29, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Money will be raised in record time. That's not going to be an issue at all. And the biggest bankroll doesn't always guarantee a win in DC. Finally, a credible challenger. Let the games begin!

Posted by: ssmd11 | March 29, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Vince Gray is a nice man. He runs a nice meeting. He does not have the stomach or skill to grapple with the schools. The teachers will run over him. Almost everyone will run over him. The WTU would, but they will shortly be headless, if not completely witless. Enough people in all categories believe in Fenty and what he has done for the schools, despite the epic braying and complaining. It was time to clean house, and he has in DCPS. He still has several departments where he was handed a mess, but he will clean them up in due time. Mr. Gray will be like Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: axolotl | March 29, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

so, it's gonna be light and brite versus little lord fenty?

Posted by: californicationdude | March 29, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh please D.C. It is April. And it is too late for Gray to run a meaningful, viable campaign against incumbent Fenty. The primary is in 5 months - the electorate will not be focused on the race until June/July. Gray is at least $2 million behind. If he was really real with his candidacy he would have got busy at least 6 months ago. He has missed so many opportunities to capitalize on this weak Mayor's failures (snow removal, lack of concern over Metro, stupid scandals, etc.) At this point he is a token opponent at best. D.C. deserves to have real leaders but once again there will be no change this go around.

Posted by: MikeMIke3 | March 29, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

@hikaya, you said almost everything I wanted to say. Fenty is a loser. The people that Fenty has placed in key leadership roles such as DC school's chancellor, police chief, fire chief,deputy school chief,are in many ways below average. These people all think like Fenty, or they will lose their jobs. He loves anyone but black people. When former mayor Williams was our mayor this city was fiscally sound. Now look at our city, we will not be able to get out of this fiscal mess for many years. So no I will not vote for this loser.

Posted by: fivetogo | March 30, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

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