Ward 3 Republican attacks Cheh by endorsing Fenty
Dave Hedgepeth, a Republican who is challenging incumbent Democrat Mary Cheh for the Ward 3 council seat, will endorse Mayor Adrian Fenty's re-election tomorrow at a press conference in front of the John A. Wilson Building.
So why does it matter that a no-name member of a no-chance political party happens to have a horse in the mayoral race?
For one, there's the novelty of a Republican crossing party lines -- although that's becoming less and less novel when it comes to local GOP attitudes toward Fenty. The more interesting subtext is that Hedgepeth is trying to make hay out of the fact that Cheh (pictured) has kept mum on her own mayoral preference.
The thin line that Cheh has tried to straddle separates her ward's overwhelming preference for Fenty (or, more to the point, schools chief Michelle Rhee) from her own well-publicized disdain for the way Fenty governs the city.
So in steps Hedgepeth. "I just think it will be a way to contrast my position on the mayor's race with Ward 3 voters," he says -- and this position in particular: "Fenty has shown that he is truly 100 percent behind Chancellor Rhee. ... I support the candidate that's shown he's 100 percent behind Chancellor Rhee."
Cheh, it should be noted, has generally been a supporter of Rhee -- it tends to be Attorney General Peter Nickles who attracts the bulk of her invective. But in a race where a vote against Fenty is a vote against Rhee, Hedgepeth sees a wedge issue for the city's most affluent ward.
"What bigger issue is facing folks here than who our next mayor is going to be?" he asks, adding that Cheh is well qualified to offer an opinion, given that she's worked with both of the main combatants. "She is withholding her endorsement for political reasons. Ward 3 voters should know that and should have that in mind," he says.
"He can do whatever he wants, good for him," says Cheh, who says she "particularly doubts" that Hedgepeth's mayoral preferences are going to swing any votes -- either in the mayor or council races.
This reporter pressed Cheh to publicly reveal her mayoral preference to no avail.
Cheh said she "may at some point go public with what I've been telling people one on one." But she says she won't be doing it because Hedgepeth thinks she should: "Whatever motivates his actions, they're not going to determine mine."
Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post
August 23, 2010; 1:03 PM ET
Categories: Adrian Fenty , DCision 2010 , The District , Vincent Gray
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