From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com
On the heels of DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s recently exposed shadow campaign, three of the city’s 12 sitting concilmembers have now called for Gray to resign on Wednesday due to the scandals in his 2010 Democratic Primary campaign against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), David Catania (I-At Large) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) have said Gray should resign in the wake of federal prosecutors investigating Gray’s 2010 election campaign for illegal funding. Catania even went so far as to call the mayor a “joke,” adding that he is a “laugh line” and an “embarrassment.”
What is notable about Cheh’s Wednesday statement is that she endorsed Gray over incumbent Fenty in the September 2010 Democratic Primary. It was not a popular move among Cheh’s constituents in the upper Northwest Ward, which voted overwhelming for Fenty over Gray.
So what exactly happened to account for these accusations? Well, it is reported that Gray’s 2010 campaign misreported (or failed to report) $650,000 funneled from local contractor and (major) local political donor, Jeff Thompson. (Read more about Thompson in the Washington City Paper – in particular, how his home and office spaces were raided in suspicion of illegal activities related to the 2010 campaign.)
On Wednesday, Gray spoke about his allegations in a press conference where he confessed that he was not aware of the illegal reporting of contributions to his campaign. Gray said that he has no intentions of resigning.
Whether or not he was aware of it, Eugenia Clarke Harris, an aide in Gray’s campaign, pleaded guilty to charges that unreported money was used in campaign efforts to beat out incumbent, Adrian Fenty. Two other aides have pleaded the same charge. According to NBC Washington, Harris could receive 30 to 37 months in prison, and a fine between $6,000 and $60,000.
And even though Thompson’s contributions hardly made a ripple in the money pond of the election (Gray reported raising and spending about $2 million, whereas Fenty spent nearly $5 million), local politicians and supporters are outraged and feel betrayed by the candidate that campaigned on integrity.
Early this morning, ABC7/NewsChannel 8 reported that “Campaign workers for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray tell The Associated Press that day laborers who worked at polling places on Gray’s behalf in 2010 were routinely paid $100 in cash — twice the legal limit.”
Borderstan Area Voted Overwhelmingly for Fenty
The Dupont, Logan and U Street areas of DC voted overwhelmingly for Fenty over Gray in the September 2010 primary. Fenty carried 9 out of 10 local precincts, winning six with more than 70% of the vote.
DC’s electorate is overwhelmingly Democrat, which means winning the Democratic Primary is almost always tantamount to election. But, in the November 2010 general election, Fenty got approximately 23% of the vote in a write-in campaign organized by Fenty supporter Joshua Lopez. Locally, Fenty got 30% in Ward 1 (which includes the U Street corridor and Adams Morgan) and 39% in Ward 2 (which included the Dupont and Logan areas). For example, Write-In (Fenty) received 43% of the vote in Precinct 16 at 15th and R Streets NW.
UPDATE: Poll closes today, July 30.
We have a new reader poll up this week for DC Democrats: Who’s your choice for mayor in the September 14 Democratic Primary?
Are you for the incumbent, Adrian Fenty… or challenger Vincent Gray? Undecided?
How about bringing back former Mayor Anthony Williams? We thought it would be fun to throw in an unusual option since Borderstan has heard a number of people say, “I don’t like either choice.” While it is too late for Williams to qualify for the September 14 ballot, he could go the write-in route either in the primary or the November 2 general election.
The poll is on the home page in the right navigation bar.
The results of a similar Borderstan reader poll in late April had Fenty at 49%, Gray at 26% and 21% undecided. The Ward 2 Democrats in conjunction with the Logan Circle Community Association are holding a forum and straw poll on Wednesday, July 21 (both candidates have been invited). Doors open at 7 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.
The DC Board of Elections & Ethics has purged almost 94,000 “inactive” voters the rolls. Is your name on the list? This list is in a PDF document at the BOEE site (use the search function, there are 1,737 pages).
“None of these voters has cast a ballot in the District in at least eight years, nor responded to repeated notices from our office,” said Board spokesperson Alysoun McLaughlin. “In addition, our mail to each one of these individuals has been returned undeliverable from the U.S. Postal Service, suggesting that they no longer live at the address where they originally registered.”
What’s the next step if you were removed from the voter rolls or if you are simply not registered to vote? DCBOEE says:
District residents are encouraged to register to vote or update their registration using the Board’s online tool at www.dcboee.org and to submit their completed voter registration application by mail by August 16, 2010. Between August 17 and August 30, residents can only register in person at the Board’s office. Once early voting begins on August 30 and at the polls on Election Day, residents can only register and cast a ballot if they bring with them a current photo ID, utility bill, bank statement, or government document listing their current address. Those individuals will be required to cast a special ballot, which will only be counted if the Board verifies that the voter meets all qualifications and has provided proper proof of residence.