D.C. Mayoral Election 2010: The latest on Adrian Fenty and Vince Gray for mayor
Updated: September 14, 2010 - 02:02 pm
Washington, D.C. — As the mayoral election between Washington, D.C.'s top two Democratic candidates — Adrian Fenty and Vince Gray — heads into its last weeks, TBD will be tracking away. Herewith, all the controversy, debates, forums, polls, issues, endorsements, statistics and killer quotes we can muster.
LINKS TO TBD's ELECTION DAY COVERAGE
Monday, Sept. 13, 7:36 p.m.
TBD ENDS THE FRAY, COMES CLOSE TO OPENLY WEEPING
Wow, you guys. What a wild ride it has been. Much to the delight of @byjuliewestfall, TBD will be closing out the Fray tonight. Like now. This second.
We wish we had wise words to leave you with. But we don't. I even called my Dad, and asked him what sage advice he used to give me as a wee child. Actual answer: "If you can't be happy you can at least be cheerful." OK! What a rousing message for Election Day! Think about that, whoever loses Tuesday.
If you have any problems at the polls, please let TBD know. We'll be mapping voter issues across the District. Thanks to those who followed this, to the editors who put up with us, and to our delightful coworkers who have listened to us be total nerds for weeks now.
Happy Election Day, D.C! Go vote Tuesday! TBDFRAYOUT!
Monday, Sept. 13 5:48 p.m.
Jay Newton-Small says that she wrote the item "pretty quickly." That she hasn't "been following it." That she hasn't "been reading about it."
"It," here, is the D.C. mayoral race between Vince Gray and incumbent Adrian Fenty. And if you read the 128 words that Newton-Small wrote about the race for Time magazine's Swampland blog, you'll have no trouble believing how little preparation she did.
Here's the item, followed by an inventory about what's true and not:
Adrian Fenty vs. Vince Gray, Democrats for Washington DC mayor. In DC it's all about the primary as the city votes overwhelmingly Democratic. Fenty, the incumbent, is losing in polls to Gray, a long time city pol. Fenty has come under fire for cronyism and for three disastrous weeks after snomageddon#2 where the city essentially shut down. Roads were left unplowed. Alley trash piled up, rats proliferated. Fenty's pros: that he's an outsider, a reformer; Michelle Rhee, who says she'll leave if Fenty loses; and the fact that he closed DC's car inspection facility so residents can get it done, finally, at gas stations like most anyone else. Gray's pros: he's not Adrian Fenty; he's an insider who can smooth a lot of the feathers Fenty has ruffled.
True: Reformer Fenty, under fire for cronyism, is down in the polls against Gray, an insider, in the Democratic primary in this heavily Democratic town. The city encountered various difficulties following February's colossal snow emergency.
*In the context of the campaign, Fenty has NOT come under fire for the response to the snowstorms. "Have not heard it mentioned ONCE by Gray," says a reporter who's been covering the campaign from its inception.
*Fenty is not an outsider. Prior to becoming mayor, he was a councilmember; prior to becoming a councilmember, he was a council staffer; he also served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner.
*Rhee has never said she'll leave if Fenty loses.
*Fenty never closed the city's car inspection facility so that the work could be done by "gas stations." There is no "gas station" involvement planned for future inspections.
Unconfirmed: "Rats proliferated."
Monday, Sept. 13, 5:38 p.m.
FENTY CAMPAIGN FILES OFFICIAL COMPLAINT ABOUT GIANT GIFT CARDS
Via Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan, here's Bill Lightfoot's letter to the Board of Elections and Ethics.
Monday, Sept. 13, 5:36 p.m.
IF YOU'RE STILL UNDECIDED, LET THESE GUYS PERSUADE YOU
In something of a shocker, Greater Greater Washington's David Alpert — the mobilizer of the Great Streetcar Revolt — endorsed Vince Gray today. Two other GGW contributors penned endorsements of Fenty.
Jason Cherkis, who has been The Undecided for Washington City Paper for months, finally made his decision. He's voting Gray as well.
And DCist sat down with Fenty, rounding out their all-star series of interviews.
Monday, Sept. 13, 4:33 p.m.
NOTEBOOK DUMP MONDAY: LET'S ALL PILE ON SULAIMON EDITION
Sulaimon Brown is already having a less-than-excellent day, what with Loose Lips exposing
him as a Maryland resident and all the fact that he once had a Maryland driver's license and is still registered to vote in Prince George's County. (CLARIFICATION: I went a little too far in my reading of the City Paper article. They haven't outright proven Brown lives in Maryland.) Normally, I wouldn't encourage piling on a long-shot candidate like Brown. Unfortunately, the Fenty-volunteer-turned-hater annoyed me endlessly, and so I'm throwing that rule out the window. Why? The other mayoral long shots at least brought something different to the table. Leo Alexander is socially conservative and tries to get people riled up about illegal immigration. Ernest Johnson was outright in his opposition to gentrification. And Faith was well, Faith.
Brown, though, was just a pain. He was essentially a surrogate for Vince Gray, mindlessly attacking Fenty and regularly saying "If you can't vote Brown, Vote Gray." Later on in the campaign, he started following the council chairman around during events. It got kind of creepy.
Anyway, I wanted to highlight what I thought was the Campaign's Stupidest Moment. During the Ward 4 straw poll and forum, WTOP's Mark Plotkin asked about statehood (surprise!). The other candidates gave their answers, but when it was Brown's turn, things got interesting.
Brown said he would support a bill that gave D.C. representation but stripped out the city's strict gun laws. Why? Because then the president could just line-item veto the gun law bit.
Brown was apparently under the impression the president has line-item veto. He doesn't, which Brown would know if he had passed middle-school civics.
Monday, Sept. 13, 2:21 p.m.
JERK, LIKE CHICKEN
So the Washington City Paper already won mid-August with their version of this story, but I, along with Sarah and TBD Head Editorial Honcho Erik Wemple, have our own inquiry into whether or not Adrian Fenty engages in troll-like behavior over at The Facts Machine.
Monday, Sept.13, 1:51 p.m.
NOTEBOOK DUMP MONDAY: TAKE A WALK WITH US EDITION
In our continuing Notebook Dump Monday series, we present you with That Time We Tried to Get Adrian Fenty to Wear a Pedometer.
TBD thought it would be really cool to measure retail politics in D.C., to count the steps candidates climbed and signs handed out, etc. A big part of this story was getting both Vince Gray and Adrian Fenty to wear pedometers on the campaign trail. TBD was convinced that Adrian Fenty, known athlete, would be all about it. Adrian Fenty maybe was, but his campaign definitely was not.
Here is a rough transcript of one of our final attempts:
Larimer: First of all, why won't you wear my pedometer?
Fenty: What happened?
Larimer: You guys won't let me put a pedometer on you.
Fenty: You've got a pedometer?
Larimer: Yeah, why won't you just wear it? I have it with me.
Fenty: Wear it everywhere I go?
Larimer: Yeah. Just wear it on the campaign for a day.
Fenty: Oh yeah?
Larimer: Just a day.
Fenty: What would I do?
Larimer: You’d just win ... the day.
Fenty: I should wear it when I go for a run.
Larimer: OK. You wear it for a day and I'll wear it for a day. And we'll see who wins.
Fenty: Let's just race.
Larimer: OK, well. That's what I'm saying. It's just a day, with the pedometer. On the campaign trail. I don't understand Sean Madigan. Can you guys just, like, maybe reconsider it?
Fenty: Yeah. they told me about it. He didn't think it was a good idea. I don't really know why.
Larimer: That kind of sucks.
Fenty: Yeah. But what else do you have?
One pedometer now sits at this TBD reporter’s desk. The second we gave to Dave Jamieson, because he writes about people who walk and stuff, so we thought he could find some use in it. Turns out we were wrong about that too. We’re pretty sure it is still on Dave Jamieson’s desk.
Basically what I’m saying is two members of the Larimer family will be getting pedometers for Christmas this year and zero people will be reading a story about Adrian Fenty and a pedometer.
Monday, Sept. 13, 12:25 p.m.
22,000 CAST BALLOTS EARLY
As expected, the early voting breakdown looks good for incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty. Close to 6,000 people voted at the Chevy Chase Community Center in Ward 3, the most of any early voting site. Ward 3 is expected to lean heavily toward Fenty.
In total, 22,048 people have voted early as of Saturday night. Five thousand voted at One Judiciary Square, 4,600 voted at Hine Junior High School in Southeast, 1,900 voted at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center and 4,400 voted at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center.
You have four hours and 20 minutes to cast your ballot if you want to vote early. Early voting continues at One Judiciary Square until 4:45 p.m. today.
Monday, Sept. 13, 10:45 a.m.
MORE FROM GRAY ON UPCOMING PRIMARY, VOTE-TRADING ALLEGATIONS
TBD's Fray reporter caught up with mayoral hopeful Vince Gray after his Monday morning appearance on TBD'S NewsTalk (synergy!) and pressed him on the gift card accusations and the status of his campaign in the final hours before Tuesday's primary.
Gray's voice = a little raspy. Gray's level of involvement with this gift card situation = zero, says Vince Gray.
Gray on how he feels going into Tuesday's primary: "I feel absolutely splendid. When I started this, I really was concerned about what would be my energy level at this point. I absolutely feel wonderful and I'm delighted to feel wonderful, if that makes any sense."
Gray, on the gift card story: "I had nothing to do with that."
Also this: "Cora Barry said it was hers. It was her thing. I had nothing to do with that."
For those who wonder about these things, Gray says he'll be voting early Tuesday morning in Precinct 113.
Monday, Sept. 13, 10:21 a.m.
GRAY STOPS BY TBD's NEWSTALK
Vince Gray on Monday made a final pitch to voters on TBD's NewsTalk, saying his campaign offers a clear choice to residents who felt ignored or slighted under D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.
"I'm very happy with the campaign that we've been able to run," Gray told TBD's Bruce DePuyt.
Gray, who is currently the D.C. Council chairman, said he felt that many voters have also shared his own frustrations with Fenty's hard-charging leadership style.
"When people vote for somebody and they feel that they haven't been responded to and respected, they get angry," Gray said.
Gray also addressed allegations of vote-trading that arose over the weekend. He says he had "nothing to do" with a get-out-the-vote effort that reportedly offered gift cards in exchange for participating in this year's primary.
"Absolutely not and I think that's now been cleared up," Gray says.
Fenty's campaign also received an invitation to NewsTalk, but the mayor did not make an appearance.
Monday, Sept. 13, 8:51 a.m.
TBD LEARNS ABOUT THINGS HAPPENING AT TBD
UPDATE 9:45 A.M.: Hey look we did it!
Monday, Sept. 13, 210, 7:11 a.m.
PEOPLE WHO DISLIKE ADRIAN FENTY CAN KIND OF BE MEAN TO ADRIAN FENTY
Over at the Post, Marc Fisher has explored Adrian Fenty’s likability problem.
From Fisher's story:
“A retired man refuses the mayor's handshake. The head of the city's Minority Contractors and Business Association, Robert Green, shouts at him: "How long you going to keep apologizing? Minority contractors can't get no work." A woman tells Green not to waste his breath: "Don't you know he won't listen because you're not white?"
A very loud white man wearing a Gray T-shirt keeps screaming, "Sinclair Skinner, Sinclair Skinner," right in the mayor's face, invoking the name of Fenty's controversial fraternity brother and friend, who has gone from failed businessman to flourishing contractor over the past four years.
Fenty started this visit with a big smile, calling out greetings, but now he steps silently through the barrage, the veins in his head bulging, eyes wide, lips tightened.”
Yikes. Make sure to check out Fisher’s full report.
Monday, Sept. 13, 2010, 6:31 a.m.
GRAY CAMPAIGN HIT WITH VOTE-TRADING ALLEGATIONS; CORA MASTERS BARRY TAKES THE BLAME
Cora Masters Barry says she's responsible for a get-out-the-vote operation in which residents were offered supermarket gift cards for participating in this year's primary.
The Fenty campaign had accused the Gray campaign of trying to reward residents for voting. A video of the incident was posted online, but did not show any voter actually receiving a gift card or anyone being instructed to vote for Gray.
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics is aware of the allegations, reports the Post.
Monday, Sept. 13, 615 a.m.
EARLY VOTING LOCATION REMAINS OPEN MONDAY
Residents who want to early vote in the mayoral primary can still cast their ballots at One Judiciary Square on Monday.
The early voting center at 441 4th Street, NW, will remain open until 4:45 p.m. today.
Four satellite locations in the city closed on Saturday. Officials expected another high turnout throughout that day.
The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on Friday said in a news release that more than 15,000 residents had already visited early voting centers.
Monday, Sept. 13, 2010, Sometime in between 6:15 a.m. and 5:54 a.m.
NOTEBOOK DUMP MONDAY: INTRODUCTIONS EDITION
So TBD realized that the primary is Tuesday, and we have all these quotes and notes we haven’t ever reported, because stories fell through or they ran in the Post during our pre-launch days or they were just not interesting enough for a full story. In theory, TBD will be dumping our notebooks today, giving you the tidbits that we wanted to report but never got the chance.
Disclaimer: we’re a little busy, so if we fail at this little project too, we’re sorry in advance.
First up: Vince Gray’s shirts.
OK, guys. One time this TBD reporter was out with Vince Gray on the campaign trail and she noticed that Gray’s shirt cuffs had his first name sewn on them. Not his initials, like one would expect. The shirt actually said “Vince.” TBD has read lots of profiles on Vince Gray, and they often mention that he is really well dressed. However, we have not yet seen someone noting that he wears shirts with his name sewn on them, something TBD has not done since grade school summer camp. Seriously, how has this not come up yet? Has it, and we just missed it? That is entirely possible.
This completes our first installment of Notebook Dump Monday. Stay tuned!
Monday, Sept. 13, 5:54 a.m.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST SUPPORTS FENTY
Washington Examiner columnist Jonetta Rose Barras has endorsed Adrian Fenty, saying he has “produced a distinguished record of achievement.”
“Fenty is imperfect,” she writes. “We all are.
But, if you want to see this city improve at an aggressive pace, are tired of divisive racial politics, and believe meritocracy should reign, then rush to the polls today and tomorrow and vote for Adrian M. Fenty.”
Monday, Sept. 13, 5:41 a.m.
SMALL VICTORIES: TBD REPORTER IS (MAYBE) A BETTER DANCER THAN VINCE GRAY
Hey, Washington City Paper, thanks so much for this video of a dancing Vince Gray. This is really the image we wanted to carry with us through the weekend.
Also, can we just say, why did you cut the video right when Gray looked like he was really getting into it? No. Wait. Never mind. I do not think we needed any more of this.
Monday, Sept. 13, 5:25 a.m.
TBD IS TOTALLY NOT FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS PRIMARY, WHICH IS ONE DAY AWAY
Good morning, Washington. It’s Monday morning, and the primary is Guess that means it’s time for Adrian Fenty to take a three-hour triathlon break. Oh wait, sorry. He did that yesterday.
Here are your weekend headlines: The fan-less Florida Marlins swept your Washington Nationals. Brutal. Your Washington Redskins made up for it Sunday, beating the feared Dallas Cowboys, 13-7. Fenty, as we’ve already mentioned, ran a triathlon, and did pretty well. Our standard for doing “pretty well” in a triathlon is actually just “not dying,” so we’re not sure if this is a proper assessment of Fenty’s performance. He and Gray were later both at Adams Morgan Day festival, where some police office shot a dog. No really.
The Washington Post this weekend rolled out a glowing profile of Michelle Fenty, who said she is currently not a fan of The Internet. Because we are on The Internet, we’re going to stop typing stuff about this profile now and just direct you to the paper version of the Washington Post. Nope, not even a link for you. Boom. Served.
TBD would like to instead point you toward this AP story by Jessica Gresko , who used to sit next to TBD when we were both at AP Miami. Memories. This is my favorite quote from Gresko’s report: "I love everything about this job," Fenty said after winning the general election. "People expect a high energy administration and I'm looking forward to it."
Did you hear that, Washington? A guy who had just gotten the job already loved everything about it. I hope someone has already made fun of this.
TBD needs some coffee. So do you. We’re in for a long two days.
Friday, Sept. 10, 5:19 p.m.
FRESH IN THEIR MINDS
If you are unemployed or a teacher, the mayor of our pleasant metropolis has some good news for you. Earlier today, D.C. Public Schools announced the "biggest payday every for D.C. teachers," with $45 million in retroactive pay increases. On Monday, the mayor is showing off a fancy new job center and unveiling a new $3.5-to-$5 million dollar job training program, the Washington Business Journal's Michael Neibauer reports.
Also, if you could vote for him on Tuesday, the mayor would very much appreciate it.
Friday, Sept. 10, 1:47 p.m.
HAVE YOU NOT HEARD ADRIAN FENTY AND VINCE GRAY TALK ENOUGH? IF SO, LISTEN TO THIS
Friday, Sept. 10, High noon plus 28 minutes
VOTE OFTEN OK MAYBE JUST VOTE EARLY
More than 15,000 District residents have already cast ballots in the mayoral primary.
That's according to the unofficial estimates from the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. The board says the early voting site at Chevy Chase Community Center has been the busiest since satellite locations opened Saturday, serving more than 4,000 voters.
The board is expecting a high turnout Saturday, according to a news release.
Friday, Sept. 10, High noon plus nine minutes
WHO NEEDS ANITA DUNN WHEN YOU HAVE A GUY CALLED STINKY DINK?
There. I said it. What are you going to do about it, Dunn? (Return our e-mail!) It seems there's another Fenty remix music video out, this time for "Oh You Fenty Huh?"
This was personally one of our least favorite of the Fenty tracks, but the video is pretty, so we'll post it.
Friday, Sept. 10, 11:33 a.m.
TODAY'S WORD OF THE DAY: RESPONSIBILITY
Mo Elleithee, adviser to the Vince Gray campaign, and Ron Moten, vocal supporter of Adrian Fenty, were on TBD NewsTalk just now (OK like an hour ago but we've been busy), talking about the mayoral race as it enters the final days.
There was a lot of talk about people being responsible for things. Also mentioned: Contracts! Cronies! Ron Moten's grandmother! Voter fraud!
"This is part of the problem, I think, with the Fenty campaign and the mayor," Elleithee said, when discussing recent reports of vote-buying. "They're not taking responsibility. There's a complete and total abdication of responsibility."
Moten deflected the controversy, and called Gray "the only candidate who has not taken responsibility."
"I would not be surprised if someone's putting people up to this," he said.
You can watch video of the Modown below:
Friday, Sept. 10, 7:41 a.m.
MO VS. MO ON TBD SHOW (WE ARE REALLY INTO RHYMING TODAY)
Because no one learned any lessons from Tuesday night, Mo Elleithee, an adviser for the Vince Gray campaign, will be meeting Ron Moten, a supporter of Adrian Fenty, on TBD’s NewsTalk this morning. OK sure, why not? Let’s do this.
I’m not going to lie, this TBD reporter is pretty excited about the potential for mid-morning hilarity here. As our loyal readers will recall, Moten debated Marion Barry, a Gray supporter, Ward 8 councilmember and often-difficult-to-quote mumbler, on Fox 5 earlier this week. It was kind of not as fun as TBD had hoped, but then again TBD had very high expectations. We are confident that our own Bruce DePuyt will come through for us.
In non-Ron Moten news, Vince Gray is expected to appear on The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin this morning, according to the campaign’s Twitter feed. Here’s a true fact: I am forcing @kevinrobillard to keep tabs on that one so I can stick with the Mo vs. Mo show.
Friday, Sept. 10, 7:32 a.m.
PETER NICKLES IS A SUCKER FOR MEAT/SALT/SUGAR-DEPRIVED CHILDREN
We won't give away too many details on here, but we will say this: no meat, salt or sugar in the Fenty household? Ouch. Your TBD reporter was sheltered from soda as a wee child, but at least she was allowed to indulge in the occasional pretzel.
Friday, Sept. 10, 7:05 a.m.
WASHINGTON POST ED BOARD CONSIDERS LIFE AFTER RHEE
The Washington Post editorial board on Friday raises questions about whether Vince Gray's promise of more delicate school reform would really get the job done in the District.
Mayor Adrian Fenty has said he'd retain DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee, but Gray has repeatedly dodged the question.
"Mr. Gray is right that reform should not be dependent upon one person," the Post editorial reads. "Still, a legitimate question for voters is what will happen to the schools if Ms. Rhee leaves."
The Post notes that upheaval is never good for a school system, Gray has questioned Rhee's previous decisions, and he is backed by the American Federation of Teachers.
"If the union succeeds, how will Mr. Gray — who already is questioning the fairness of the system's new, nationally recognized evaluation process — deal with the next round of teachers who are rated ineffective?" the editorial asks. "How would he handle the pioneering teachers contract when it is renegotiated in 2012?"
Good questions! We still wish we had a direct answer to the original Rhee question, though. That would be a good place to start.
The Post has endorsed Fenty.
Friday, Sept. 10, 6:42 a.m.
WITH BATED BREATH, WASHINGTONIANS ANXIOUSLY AWAIT RESULTS OF DOG POLL
TBD thought we was done writing about polls. We thought wrong. The District’s pet population had yet to weigh in on this mayoral race.
The Washington Humane Society has held a "paw poll” at a Northwest park, according to The Associated Press. The participating pets selected their mayoral choice by eating polka-dotted biscuits that represented either a vote for Vince Gray or a vote for Adrian Fenty. There were minor reports of voting problems, spokeswoman Sabrina Fang tells the AP, with some hungry dogs voting twice. We can’t believe we’re still writing this brief.
Results are expected to be announced Friday. We’ll check it out online, but only because we like looking at pictures of puppies.
UPDATE 3:38 P.M.: This gets better and better. By which we mean worse and worse. The results! In video form!
Friday, Sept. 10, 6:26 a.m.
EVERYONE PLEASE OPEN YOUR NEW YORK TIMES TO PAGE A16
“Mr. Fenty still enjoys the support of a majority of white voters, who praise the overhauls of schools and agencies and a visionary transportation plan with bike paths,” writes the Times’ Erik Eckholm. “But many blacks, especially, say he became arrogant and distant, rarely showing up at the community forums, church services and funerals that keep a politician connected to his public, and they fault him for his chilly relations with the City Council.”
You should give Eckholm’s piece a read, even though we (sadly) have to give it a few frios: noticeably absent (at least from the online version that TBD read) was a quote from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has endorsed Fenty. After all, he’s your mayor, New York. Maybe it's in the non-online version. We'll do some investigative journalism and get back to you. Also, New York Times, the Washington Post poll was great, but let’s not call it the last published poll. Have you not seen this graphic wonder from the Washington City Paper? Get with the times, Times.
Friday, Sept. 10, 6:14 a.m.
ELECTION PROTECTION ESTABLISHES CONNECTION FOR THE ... OK WE RAN OUT OF RHYMES
A hotline will be set up for voters who have questions or concerns about the mayoral primary this year.
The hotline is part of an effort by the nonpartisan group Election Protection, according to a news release. Voters can call from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the day of the primary. The group also says volunteers will also be in the field to monitor polling places.
The goal is to reduce problems, complaints or confusion about D.C.s new voting laws.
The tollfree hotline is 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
Thursday, Sept. 9, 8:15 p.m.
HEY, HERE’S AN INTERESTING NAME IN THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
UPDATE: The Post, attributing to "sources," says Fenty is planning a huge media push this weekend.
UPDATE: Loose Lips at City Paper also reported on this tonight, but we missed it initially.
TBD would like to direct your attention back to the campaign finance reports that were released earlier this week. Particularly the expenditures section of Mayor Adrian Fenty’s most recent filings.
Fenty’s campaign spent $14,464.25 on SKDKnickerbocker in Washington, according to the reports. The expenditure, listed as advertising, is dated Sept. 2. Why should this matter? This firm is home to Anita Dunn, whom you might remember from her days with President Barack Obama. Her firm has also recently done work on behalf of D.C. Public Schools.
Fenty still had $809,574 cash on hand on Wednesday, the reports indicate — plenty to sick at more advertising in the final days of the primary campaign.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 1:08 p.m.
MORE ON VOTE BUYING
If you're looking for more on this vote-buying fiasco, head over to our main story on the fiasco, being manned and updated by TBD's editor, the incomparable Erik Wemple. It has updated reaction from the Gray campaign and the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 6:22 a.m.
THE ECONOMICS OF VOTE BUYING
Last night, ABC7’s Sam Ford broke a Very Important Story. District young adults said they were promised $100-a-day jobs with the Fenty campaign in exchange for voting for the mayor. The Fenty campaign denies the allegations.
Beyond the whole corruption-and-illegality thing, there’s another reason it might not make sense for the Fenty campaign to pay people to vote: they could more efficiently spend their money in other ways.
If you follow Ford’s story, the young people were being promised $100 a day for 10 days of work. That’s $1,000 for a single vote.
In 2006, Fenty raised $3.8 million, although he donated a significant portion of that to charity after defeating Linda Cropp. Fenty collected 60,732 votes in the primary that year. Even if he had spent all the money he raised, he would have paid a mere $62.57 per vote in 2006.
Fenty is significantly less popular now than he was in 2006, so each vote should cost more. And presumably the young people were going to work as canvassers for the Fenty campaign, generating several more votes. But why not just pay for the canvass and not the vote? Either way, the cost of a vote shouldn't have increased more than 900 percent.
Of course, if you never actually pay the voter, this is a very efficient method.
Bottom line: There are better ways for the Fenty campaign to spend the $809,000 they have left.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 1:40 p.m.
FENTY NOT OPTIMISTIC ON OBAMA ENDORSEMENT
It doesn't sound like Adrian Fenty thinks he's going to get his White House endorsement. Intrepid TBD Reporter Sarah Larimer has the mayor saying the following:
"Our campaign has been in conversations with the White House and this is the way I would frame it. If I was mayor of any city in the country, including Washington D.C., I would certainly ask the president for his support. If I was President of the United States, I would not go around endorsing mayors either. You just don't have the time to do it."
During a press conference today outside his campaign headquarters, Vince Gray cited Fenty's plea for an Obama intervention as a sign of desperation.
"My relationship with President Obama is one (that) is extremely supportive of the District of Columbia," Fenty said, adding that he felt he had a close relationship with the Obamas. "I think President Obama is committed to Washington D.C. no matter who the mayor is."
We're pretty sure Mark Plotkin would disagree with that.
And while Obama isn't endorsing him, (Martin) O'Malley kind of is.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 1:31 p.m.
BREAKING: ONE DEBATE TOMORROW WILL HAVE FREE CUPCAKES, ANOTHER WILL HAVE RON MOTEN
If there are two things District residents have fallen in love with this summer, they are cupcakes and Ron Moten.
Fenty, Gray and Leo Alexander will debate tomorrow at Tony & Joe's Seafood House in Georgetown. The debate is being sponsored by a few neighborhood groups and is being moderated by Carol Joynt. Mike DeBonis think this will be the last debate of the race.
MORE IMPORTANTLY THERE WILL BE FREE LUNCH FROM TONY & JOE'S AND FREE CUPCAKES FROM D.C. CUPCAKES. DID WE MENTION THE FREE CUPCAKES?
Earlier in the day, TBD NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt will have a surrogate debate. Ron Moten will debate for Fenty, and Gray Campaign Senior Advisor Mo Elleithee will argue his side. We have to say this doesn't look good for Ron, since Elleithee is a professional political operative, and Ron Moten is Ron Moten.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 6:08 a.m.
CITY PAPER: 'ADRIAN FENTY IS THE JERK D.C. NEEDS'
So much for being an alternative. Like its mainstream cousins, the Washington City Paper has endorsed incumbent Adrian Fenty. In today’s print edition, the editors pan Fenty’s communications shop, but have little but praise for his policies:
Building on Anthony Williams’ efforts, Fenty has overseen a dramatically more professional D.C government. There’s a reason that even polls predicting a lopsided Fenty loss reveal happiness with the general state of things. Thanks to appointees like Gabe Klein, Harriet Tregoning, and Cathy Lanier, the city’s agencies are more responsive to citizens than they’ve ever been.
As for Gray, they call him a “decent man” who holds himself to “high standards,” but think he lacks the cojones to take on some of the District’s old guard:
The “yeah, but...” strategy is especially pronounced on education: Gray wants school reform, he says. “Aggressive reform,” even! But when it comes to school closings and teacher firings—“aggressive” in action—he is Mr. Passive. Contrast his rare shots at DCPS’s status quo ante with the ample time he’s spent on pusillanimous process questions about Rhee’s personnel decisions.
They end the endorsement by answering a question they asked in a cover story not too long ago: “Vote Adrian Fenty. He’s a jerk. But he’s your jerk.”
As for the lower-ballot races, they like Vincent Orange for Council Chair (but they don’t like him very much), Phil Mendelson over White Mike in the At-Large race, former ANC commissioner Bryan Weaver over Jim Graham in Ward 1, Mary Cheh against no one in Ward 3, challenger Kenyan McDuffie in Ward 5, incumbent Tommy Wells in Ward 6, Eleanor Holmes Norton for delegate, and pick Mike Panetta over young whippersnapper Nate Bennet-Fleming for shadow representative.
In a break from past practice, the paper’s editors made the endorsement rather than Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman. This made former Loose Lips Mike DeBonis jealous.
Thursday, Sept. 9, 6:35 a.m.
NATIONAL PRESS LOVES FENTY (OR LOVES RHEE AND THUS LOVES FENTY BY EXTENSION)
The only group that is more eager to endorse Adrian Fenty than the local press corps ... is the national press corps.
The New Republic, GOOD Magazine, Morning Joe Host Joe Scarborough, Slate political reporter Dave Weigel, Center for American Progress blogger Matthew Yglesias, American Prospect reporter Adam Serwer and National Review writer Reihan Salam have all expressed support for the mayor in recent days.
All of these people fall in to one of three main categories of Fenty supporters. The New Republic and GOOD are desperately in love with Michelle Rhee. Weigel, Yglesias, and Serwer are all 20-something recent arrivals to the city. And Salam and Scarborough live in New York.
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