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Posted at 3:03 PM ET, 06/26/2010

Mayoral rivals at D.C. Caribbean parade

By Nikita Stewart

The D.C. Caribbean Carnival kicked off Saturday with an hours-long parade, and politicians were right up front.

Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) warmed up the crowd with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) following behind her. Fenty had a major contingency and a traditional Caribbean Carnival float, complete with attractive women and loud music.

The crowd in the Park View and Petworth neighborhoods screamed and cheered for the beads, but the reception for Fenty the candidate was a mix of claps and boos.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D), Fenty's chief rival in the September Democratic primary, chose a firetruck as his float. Gray's group of volunteers were severely dwarfed by Fenty's entourage. But people in the crowd wanted to shake hands, hug and take pictures with Gray. And with temperatures soaring and people tired of walking, some in the crowd screamed for the Segway that son Carlos Gray was riding down Georgia Avenue.

The avenue promises to be a center of primary politics this year. Fenty had already moved his headquarters into the old Curtis Chevrolet building.

Gray, whose headquarters is downtown, is holding a grand opening Saturday of his field office just more than a mile away from Fenty's camp.

By Nikita Stewart  | June 26, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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The D.C. voters truly hate Mayor Fenty by their remarks in the Washington City Paper blog.

Posted by: ConservativeDemocrat | June 27, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

An army, the chairman and a messenger

Not only was it a scorcher at the Caribbean Parade, it was a politically hot event.

Mayor Adrian Fenty,38, out did himself at the parade. What else would a young hip-hop gangsta-style mayor do with $4 million to spend to campaign for his reelection? Fenty had the best Caribbean disc jockey on the east coast with the all the fixins’ – big band, hundreds of followers dressed in campaign attire and thousands of giveaway items. The crowd went wild! Even Fenty’s enemies said he was a “beast.” Fenty stalled the parade by making sure that every spectator received a dose of his campaign gimmicks before he passed them.

Immediately following the mayor was Council Chairman Vincent Gray, 67, with yard signs, flags and stickers everywhere. Every tourist from Canada to Trinidad had stickers all over their clothing. The mayor’s army was so powerful until Gray’s volunteers seemed like an extension of Fenty’s massive display.

As the chairman’s followers danced to the sounds of the Fenty beat, Gray managed to give a somber wave to the crowd. “Is he okay,” people asked? Many tourists did not understand why an older man was barely moving in a parade full of life, some began to laugh.

In a daring move, Carlos Gray riding on a segway whizzed to the front of Fenty volunteers who were shouting, “Four more years.” In an attempt to redeem his father’s frail image, Carlos shouted, “It’s three more months for you, Fenty.” Undaunted by the threat, Fenty’s army kept the calypso beat and the party going. "Jump, jump, jump, jump," the DJ shouted to the crowd.

Twelve bands and several hours later, finally, Leo Alexander, 45, came with his small team of volunteers, using the traditional method of a huge truck dressed with banners and signs, loud speakers, the candidate and volunteers on the ground speaking to District residents.

“Vote for me and I promise to sign into law a system that will put Washingtonians back to work and get our jobs back from the illegal and undocumented workers that these elected officials have allowed to come here,” a recorded message played over and over.

Many potential voters hidden in the majority crowd of tourists gave Leo a warm welcome. No frills, no giveaways to tourists - just straight talk, a friendly smile and a good handshake.. “Keep the faith, Leo. We know you are still in the race and have our support.”

It was a great day for all three candidates. Too bad, most of the crowd can’t vote for them.

Posted by: vmohammed16 | June 28, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

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