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Updated: Vincent Gray joins D.C. mayor's race

Washington Post Editors

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray formally announced today that he will challenge Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

The former Ward 7 council member officially launched his campaign before dozens of supporters, including numerous labor and civic leaders, on Tuesday afternoon at the Reeves Center on U Street.

Under the slogan "One City. Leadership We Need." Gray, 67, is pictured on his campaign Web site in a white shirt and red tie with his arms folded. The home page asks readers to "Join Vince Gray's campaign to take back Washington and make it great for ALL of us."

However, the contest could get considerably more competitive and unpredictable in the coming days: Millionaire developer R. Donahue Peebles said Monday that he is "planning to run" as well, backing off earlier statements that family issues would keep him out of the race.

Until earlier this year, few expected Fenty (D) to face one serious challenger, much less two, but it appears that there will be a five-month scramble for the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to victory in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

With recent polls showing Fenty struggling with many voters, particularly African Americans, Gray immediately sought to present himself as someone who would unify the city.

"I really believe the city needs a style of leadership that can bring people together," Gray said in an interview. "I'm running out of a sense of responsibility to the city."

After he officially filed his paperwork to declare his candidacy, Gray delivered a one-minute statement to reporters and about 60 enthusiastic supporters in front of the Board of Elections and Ethics office on U Street.

Gray stressed to the crowd that he's a native Washingtonian, a theme that will probably become a centerpiece of his campaign.

"For those of you who don't know, and I will be happy to repeat it as many times as I do, I am a native Washingtonian," Gray said. "I am a graduate of the public schools of the District of Columbia. I went to George Washington University."

Gray then briefly paused before stating: "In essence, I am a dyed-in-the-wool homie."

"I absolutely love this city," he continued. "I am delighted to be able to step up to provide additional leadership in the District of Columbia."

Gray did not state his positions on any issues or answer reporters' questions about why he thinks he would be a better mayor than the incumbent, Adrian M. Fenty (D).

But Gray said the "campaign starts today."

"I look forward to connecting with everybody I possibly can," Gray said. "The reality is, we can do better in the District of Columbia. We can do better. And we will be talking about ways in which can do better during this campaign."

Metro columnist Robert McCartney offers his thoughts on the mayoral match-up.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 30, 2010; 4:42 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Tim Craig  
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