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Gertrude Stein Club endorses Gray for mayor

The members of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, which represents gay Democrats, voted Monday night to endorse D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray over Adrian M. Fenty in the mayor's race.

The endorsement, which followed a heated debate between the candidates, is another sign that much of the establishment of the local Democratic Party is starting to rally behind Gray instead of the incumbent.

Club rules state it will issue an endorsement only if a candidate locks down the support of 60 percent of voting members. Gray received 63 percent. The club also voted overwhelmingly to endorse Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) after she drew 87 percent of the vote against challenger Douglas Sloan.

"Thank you so much for supporting me, " a clearly elated Gray said after the results were announced. "I really wanted the Gertrude Stein club endorsement. ... You can count on me."

The endorsement, made by one of the oldest Democratic clubs in the city, could help Gray make inroads with the city's politically influential gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. With polls showing Gray well positioned to perform well among African Americans, many political strategists say it will be very difficult for Fenty to win if gay voters start abandoning him.

But the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club endorsement appeared to play on a minimal role in the 2006 mayor's race. In that race, the club endorsed then-council Chairman Linda Cropp. Fenty swept every precinct on Election Day, and he performed well in neighborhoods with high concentrations of gay voters.

Fenty, who has been criticized by some gay activists for not being visible enough, was well received at Saturday's Capital Pride parade. But the Gray campaign, which has printed up rainbow "Gray Pride" campaign signs, also plans to aggressively court gay voters. Gray will now be able to cite the Stein club endorsement as he tries to reach out to those voters, many of whom may not yet be familiar with him or his policies.

At the start of the endorsement meeting and forum at Town nightclub on Eighth Street NW, Democratic insiders were privately predicting that neither Fenty nor Gray would receive the 60 percent needed to secure an endorsement.

But Gray appeared to benefit from a strong performance during the candidates' forum. (Check D.C. Wire later this morning for more on the testy exchanges between Gray and Fenty). Some club members said Fenty also suffered because several longtime gay allies of council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), a supporter of the mayor, failed to show up to vote.

On Saturday, Gray also won the D.C. Democratic Committee straw poll, drawing 703 votes compared with 190 for Fenty and 75 for former television reporter Leo Alexander.

-- Tim Craig

By Kendra Nichols  |  June 15, 2010; 9:44 AM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election  
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LOL. Fenty will take this endorsement. He's desperate.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

If it wasn't for Councilmember Cantania's leadership on city health issues during the past four years, DC would be in worse shape that it already is. Mayor Fenty has been a total disaster when it comes to GLBT health care.

Go Gray !

Posted by: ashafer_usa | June 15, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Why did Mayor Fenty fire city Rent Administrator Grayce Wiggins?

Why didn't the Post cover the firing of
Grayce Wiggins?

Ask Fenty!

Posted by: peartree | June 15, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

But Fenty was having so much fun setting taxicab rates. What happened?

Posted by: starclimber9 | June 15, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

We will suffer greatly if Vincent Gray becomes Mayor. His only promising move is that he sounds like he will retain Rhee.

Posted by: axolotl | June 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Gray doesn't have theft in his past, fenty does.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 16, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

On the Gray for Mayor site,* you’ll see the just counted and posted Ward 3 straw poll vote results from the June 10th forum:

Gray won 174 votes to Fenty’s 168 – wonderful in what is supposed to be Fenty stronghold.

And here’s more good news for Gray on that site:

"The Ward Three Democratic Committee also voted tonight on whether to endorse a candidate for Mayor. While no candidate received the required 75% needed for an endorsement, Gray handily beat Fenty among the delegates by a margin of 40-15 (or 64% of the vote to 24%)."

So, if only a 60% margin would have been needed (as with the Gertrude Stein group), Gray would have the Ward 3 Democrats delegation endorsement too! fantastic.

This will certainly get other ward 3 voters to sit up and take notice.

* link to Gray for Mayor page cited above:

Posted by: efavorite | June 18, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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