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Fenty-Gray race wasn't the only draw in Ward 4 straw poll

Washington Post Editors

The heated mayoral race between incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and chief rival Vincent C. Gray wasn't the only contest that drew nearly 1,000 Ward 4 residents to a straw poll Wednesday night.

The event at St. George Ballroom and Conference Center drew so many people that police were called in direct traffic and keep order, tying up rush-hour traffic for blocks on 16th Street NW. in Crestwood.

After waiting up to an hour to cast their ballots, voters also selected Council member Kwame Brown (D-At large) over former council member Vincent Orange in the chairman's race.

According to unofficial results, Brown received 524 votes compared to Orange's 385.

In the congressional race, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) trounced challenger Douglas Sloan by a margin of 685 to 256. Still, Sloan noted he put in a strong performance for a candidate battling a popular, longtime incumbent.

The surprise of the night came in the race for at-large council member. Incumbent Phil Mendelson (D-At large) prevailed, but he faced a tough challenge from candidate Michael Brown.

Brown is not Council member Michael A. Brown, but many voters appeared to think that's who they were voting for. Brown ended up with 330 votes to Mendelson's 389.

Brown's straw poll success highlights the challenges Mendelson and fellow candidate Clark Ray could face in trying to make sure voters know that Council member Michael A. Brown is not on the ballot Sept. 14.

Ray received 199 votes in the at-large race. After the results were announced, some Mendelson supporters urged Council member Brown to do a better job informing voters he is not on the ballot this year.

In the mayoral contest, Gray received 581 votes compared to Fenty's 401. Candidate Leo Alexander got about a dozen votes, according to unofficial tallies.

Despite his easy victory in Fenty's home base, Gray appears to have fallen just short of winning an official endorsement from the Ward 4 Democratic Committee. Party officials say Gray won about 59 percent of the vote, but 60 percent was needed to secure the endorsement.

But Gray's decisive victory should send shudders throughout the Fenty campaign. In the days leading up to the vote, both the Fenty and Gray campaigns worked extensively to get supporters to show up.

While straw polls typically cannot be viewed as a predictor of election day, it's possible there weren't enough Fenty supporters in Ward 4 for his campaign to prevail.

Gray has won straw polls in Ward 3,4,6,7 and 8. Fenty has won in Ward 2.

It does not appear that Democratic committees in Wards 1 or 5 plan to hold straw polls. Now, on to the real voting.

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  August 5, 2010; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Tim Craig  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gray wins straw poll on Fenty turf
Next: Fenty says he is 'disappointed' by showing in home turf


I sure hope this means we'll have a new mayor next year.

Posted by: DCResident22 | August 5, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

According to a report published in the DC Examiner, Michael Brown has the worst absentee record among members seated on WMATA's board of directors, and when he has been present, he has spent plenty of time in the hallway on cellphone calls. I've seen enough of this cavalier type of non-attentiveness from our elected and appointed government officials. We need to stop giving people important titles and fat paychecks to produce nothing.

Posted by: logosdesigns | August 5, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Why do I get the feeling that Gray will just reset the clock back to the way things were during the Barry administration? The pathetic thing is that there is a large constituency for incompetency in DC.

Posted by: donhinds | August 5, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse


I am going to be candid with you on race. Because candidate Fenty is not afraid to play that card but it is working like a grenade.

You said.
Why do I get the feeling that Gray will just reset the clock back to the way things were during the Barry administration? The pathetic thing is that there is a large constituency for incompetency in DC.

This is a candidate approved message and we know its candidate approved because Fenty volunteers working in Ward 6 will say the same as Fenty volunteers working in Ward 2 and also post it everywhere.

You know what is heard? It sounds like racial code word for don't let this city be once again under control of black people.

Vince Gray legislatively is nothing like Marion Barry and there is no evidence as such. Fenty has actually proposed program after program that is not paid for and runs in the red.

Use that code language around Ward 4 voters, who are highly educated, very well established and probably lived through real racism in their life time and you scared the crap out of them. This messaging is doing more harm than good. This is something you may say at a tea party with your friends who have known you for years...but get a bunch of bullied up campaign workers from all point of the US to say it--a ranges from disrespectful to blatant racism (regardless of the color of the person saying it.)

The majority of voters are still African American do you think the campaign should shut up about dissing Barry in ward 4 but trying to poorly copy him in Ward 7 and Ward 8.

This free advice will only be giving once, the stupidity of the Fenty staffers have been one of Gray's best assets.

Posted by: CultureClub | August 6, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

FYI - Sloan's first name is Douglass or Doug, not the spelling printed in this post.

Posted by: rweber3 | August 9, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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