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Gray Supporters Decry Resignation Calls

Barrington M. Salmon | , WI Staff Writer | 7/19/2012, 9:37 p.m.

He said he considers Gray a lifelong ally and demanded that Gray be afforded the respect due to him as mayor of the nation's capital.

"Contrary to the cries that Washington's well-being requires an immediate resignation, our city is thriving," said Rosendall, vice president for political affairs with the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA). "Gray has been an effective mayor. Crime is down and the city's population is up. Construction cranes proliferate across the skyline. The D.C. Council is taking a two-month break. And the mayor has not been charged with any crime."

D.C. Democratic Assemblyman Dave Donaldson characterized the situation Gray is involved in as an "unnecessary ado."

"I worked in the campaign, worked with him," said Donaldson. "I'm here to back him, I'm for him. Let the process take its course. He's been prejudged. Let him do his job. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think he wasn't guilty."

"I think it's reckless of the media to do what it has done. We understand the office. He's done a great job, made promises and fulfilled them. I think he trusted the wrong people when he put his crew together. He made mistakes and will have to make some changes. At the end of the day, Vince will be fine."

A pair of individuals who have worked in political circles for years reiterated their belief that Gray has done nothing wrong. They pointed to the fact that when he ran for mayor, he was also serving as chairman of the D.C. Council and operating under a shortened campaign schedule. It is entirely reasonable, they argued, that Gray's campaign aides and associates kept him in the dark about the shadow campaign.

Barnes agreed.

"Just being associated with a bad person doesn't make you a bad person," he said. "Whether I was Martin Luther King or the Pope, if I had the apparatus of the U.S. Attorney's Office, I could find them guilty."

At the end of the day, said Hagler and Union Temple's senior pastor the Rev. Willie Wilson, cooler heads must prevail.

"I call on the council to chill out," said Wilson to the crowd. "It's premature calling for the mayor's resignation. I'm proud to be out here supporting him."

"I think it's unfair to say our administration is corrupt," Gray told members of the media at his weekly press conference on July 11. "I have distinguished between the campaign and administration. If there's something about our administration you want to put your finger on, I would invite you to do that but I think that's a very unfair characterization."

"As you'll remember, I'm the one who called for an investigation of my own campaign. And we will continue to work with the investigation. A lot of people will probably have that question but I get up every morning and look in the mirror and see someone I respect..."

Gray continues to deny any knowledge of the shadow campaign or any wrongdoing.

Harris, 75, admitted in court to overseeing the disbursement of $653,800 to fund the shadow campaign, and she said she enlisted relatives, friends and employees as "straw donors" to direct an additional $38,000 into the Gray campaign. The money is believed to have come from powerful political donor and kingmaker Jeffrey Thompson.