Gray Defeats Fenty in Mayor's Race

James Wright | 9/14/2010, 11:10 a.m.
Fenty Flounders with District Residents; Too Much, Too Little, Too Late...
Supporters of Vincent Gray are overwhelmed with joy when he finally declared winner of the D.C. Democratic Primary on Wed., Sept. 15, at the Washington Court Hotel in Northwest. Election results were delayed by several hours as the D.C. Board of Elections worked through glitches with new equipment and counts for early votes Photo by Jacques A. Benovil

Fenty Flounders with District Residents; Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

Democrats in the District of the Columbia have bestowed their blessing upon the chairman of the D.C. City Council during a bitter race to the finish line.

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray sealed the Democratic Party's nomination for mayor in the wee hours of Wed., Sept. 15 by defeating incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty by a respectable margin despite the ineptitude of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

Gray addressed a weary, yet enthusiastic crowd of 200 at about 1:49 a.m., at the Washington Court Hotel in Northwest where supporters had gathered to participate in a victory party - a gathering -- that could have gone either way.

"Thank you District of Columbia," Gray, 67, said to raucous applause and a deafening chant: "Vincent Gray, Vincent Gray, Vincent Gray, Vincent Gray" that resonated throughout the ballroom and more than likely the entire hotel.

"Tonight, the people of the District sent a message loud and clear that they want to bring character, integrity and leadership back to the mayor's office, and that it's time we come together as 'One City,' " Gray said.

Gray announced that he had received a call from Fenty during the early morning hours on Wed., Sept. 15. Despite the acrimonious campaign, Gray praised his former opponent.

"I congratulated him for running a hard and spirited campaign, and he was gracious in offering his support moving forward," he said.

"Despite our differences, I know that Adrian Fenty shares our commitment to this city."

Unofficial election results posted by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics Web site at Informer press time indicated that Gray had 53.18 percent of the total tally or 59, 285 votes while Fenty had 50, 850 and 45.62 percent. The results were based on 123 out of 143 precincts reporting.

Fenty alienated District residents because of his style of governance, said Lita Rosario, a Northwest resident.

"I did not like what he did, particularly when it came to education," Rosario, 49, said.

"His idea of education was firing teachers and I did not like that. I voted for Vincent Gray because he seemed more in touch with the needs of the people."

Fenty "lost" Ward 4 -- a Northwest community that propelled his political career -- not so much due to votes - it centered on perspective, she said.

"It seemed like Fenty [did] not represent our interests anymore," she said.

In the Nov. 2 general election, Gray will not face a Republican opponent but will be challenged by minor party candidates whom he should easily defeat in a city that has a 10-1 Democratic advantage in party registration.

Fenty becomes the third mayor defeated in the Democratic Party nomination process in the short history of Home Rule in the District. Mayor Walter Washington lost the Democratic Party primary in 1978 to then-D.C. Council member Marion Barry.