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Ward 3 Republican attacks Cheh by endorsing Fenty

Mary Cheh

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

By Mike DeBonis  |  August 23, 2010; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty , DCision 2010 , The District , Vincent Gray  
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Next: Your D.C. candidates, in 100 words or less

Comments

Strange that the Republican party so often contradicts the very principles that they tote. They claim to be in favor of less government, yet once again they support a top heavy dictatorial mayoral canidate.

Posted by: starclimber9 | August 23, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

In steps "Who?" This is so silly. I am sure that if there is a Republican candidate for Mayor after the Democrats pick their candidate then maybe someone will care about what Republican David Hedgepeth does. Currently I don't think anyone will.

The reality is that this race is not about Michelle Rhee. It is about Adrian Fenty, his cronies, his top strategists and advisors, Ron Moten and Sinclair Skinner, his lack of budget knowledge, his broken promises to the LGBT community and to Latinos and to the homeless community among others.

People shouldn't forget that Vincent Gray got the Council to pass Education Reform. He will contine education reform with or without Rhee.

Chances are with Rhee marrying the Mayor of Sacramento this Labor Day she won't be in DC too long no matter who wins.

Someone should actually begin to ask her some of the hard questions. Why is it that over 40% of the Principals you broght into DCPS have already left? Seems to be not a very good record. And any educator knows that it is important for teachers and students to have some continuity in the school they are in. It sets a tone and a culture which is dirupted everytime a Principal leaves and a new one comes in. In fact for most students it is most likely more important that who the Chancellor is.

Posted by: peterdc | August 23, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow!

Posted by: drfields | August 25, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

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