Gray campaigns with Marion Barry in Ward 8
The worst-kept secret of the mayoral race is becoming less and less secret: Marion Barry is an enthusiastic supporter of Vincent Gray's mayor campaign.
Barry tried to play down the alliance earlier this month after being caught at the Ward 4 straw poll with a Gray sticker on his jacket. "Someone put that on me," he told reporters, making no attempt to remove it. Barry is quite aware of the fine line Gray is trying to walk -- hoping to capture some of Barry's fervid support among poorer, blacker voters without alienating more affluent, whiter voters who have long despised the man.
But after an event at THEARC earlier today, Barry and Gray did some flesh-pressing down in the Woodland Terrace neighborhood in Ward 8 -- a day ahead of the Ward 8 Democrats endorsement vote. Barry posed for pictures in a blue "VOTE GRAY" cap and T-shirt. The campaigning was captured on camera, making its way to Mayor Adrian Fenty's campaign and on to reporters.
The Fenty campaign has been straining to paint Gray as a creature of the old school, and any appearance with Barry certainly helps. The Gray camp says they welcome the veteran pol's support, though they stop short of calling it an endorsement.
"He doesn't really have a relationship with the campaign," said spokeswoman Traci Hughes. Barry and Gray, she added "have a long-standing mutual respect for one another. Marion Barry has made it very clear he thinks Vince is the best person to run the city."
"It's Marion Barry's ward, and in his ward he has a lot of respect," Hughes said. "Marion Barry's a rock star. It was a natural fit."
Gray would accept a formal public endorsement from Barry Gray would be holding a formal public endorsement event with Barry, Hughes said "not right now." In 2006, Barry endorsed Fenty a week before the election.
UPDATE, 9:20 A.M.: The last paragraph has been changed to reflect that I asked hughes if Gray would hold a formal endorsement event with Barry, not whether Gray would accept his endorsement.
August 20, 2010; 9:01 PM ET
Categories: Adrian Fenty , DCision 2010 , The District , Vincent Gray
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