Take the Borderstan Reader Poll: Should Mayor Gray resign?
Unless you’ve been traveling somewhere without access to U.S. news, or intentionally tune out DC politics, it would be almost impossible to avoid the scandals surrounding Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign — and the ongoing federal investigation.
If you’ve read any DC newspaper or online site over the past several months, you’ve read about the “Shadow Campaign,” the questionable/illegal campaign contributions and reports of the questionable use of a list of voters from DC Public Housing.
Borderstan.com has covered the brouhaha, too. While we normally confine our coverage to the Dupont-Logan-U Street area, some citywide issues are too big to ignore — especially when three City Councilmembers call for the Mayor’s resignation.
Should Mayor Gray resign or would that be premature? Should he resign if he is indicted? Or should Gray wait for a possible indictment and a trial to run its course? Tell us what you think in our Borderstan reader poll.
The Dupont-Logan-U Street area was never a Gray stronghold — as we saw in the September 2010 primary results between Gray and then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, and then again in the November general election when “Write In” (the vast majority for Fenty) got 39% in Ward 2 (which includes Dupont-Logan) and 30% in Ward 1 (which includes most of the U Street corridor and surrounding neighborhood).
What sayeth you, Borderstanis? Should Gray resign from the office of DC mayor?
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.