The Fray Tracker: Day 7

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.

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Sunday, Aug. 29, 5:21 p.m.

FENTY CALLS REPORTERS TO PARKING LOT, CROWNS SELF 'UNDERDOG'

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty on Sunday told reporters to question the ethics and decisions of the front-runner in the upcoming mayoral primary, which apparently is not him, in case anyone was wondering.

"We've got an uphill battle," Fenty said at a news conference in a Southeast D.C. hospital parking lot. "We know that in the polls, whether it's three points or more, the polls are saying that we've got to make up ground before Election Day. That means we're not the front-runner. We're the underdog. ... Question (Gray) about decisions they've made about some of the ethical issues, some of the management decisions."

Fenty spoke with reporters on the same day the Washington Post released a poll that indicates he is trailing D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray with two weeks left before the Sept. 14 primary. The "three points" he mentioned was a reference to a poll taken earlier this month. The Post's new poll has him behind Gray by as much as 17 points.

Fenty said he had not yet read the Post's entire poll, but said he had "been briefed on the significant parts of it."

"The initial reaction is that change is an uphill battle," Fenty said. "In order to effectuate real change, to move our school system forward, to drive crime down, to deliver city services better in a recession, that you're going to have to make some really tough decisions. And its those types of tough decisions which are a part of shaping people's views for the election.

"But I think what's very encouraging to us ... is people are saying that by huge margins that they believe that the city has moved forward and our administration has directly helped to move the city forward. "

Fenty's next stop was a press conference with Anwan "Big G" Glover, an actor, go-go artist and radio show host. Glover claims that he was indefinitely suspended from his radio show because of his vocal support of Fenty. More on that later.

@slarimer 

Sunday, Aug. 29, 1:26 a.m.

IN SUMMARY: BAD NEWS FOR FENTY

Adrian Fenty could maybe have used some good news today. He didn't get it.

This requires a little reiteration this early on a Sunday morning — and a link to the Post's hard data.

Fenty will wake up to the news (if his BlackBerries aren't already lighting up) that he didn't fare so well against Vince Gray in the Post's poll of the mayoral race. As our dads would put it, he came in second.

The incumbent mayor saw his support in the black community waning even further. Among the registered Democratic voters who were surveyed, Gray led Fenty 49 percent to 36 percent. Among those likely to vote in the upcoming primary, Gray led 53 percent to 36 percent. All while his job approval rating increased.

Go figure.

And then there's this: The poll of 780 registered Democrats was conducted over an unusually long time frame, the Post's Mike DeBonis reports, in order to capture more vacationing Washingtonians. The margin of error for likely voters is 5 percentage points. For registered voters, it is 4 percentage points. Those margins are a little higher than in the Post's past polls, but similar to the Clarus poll dropped earlier this month.

We'll be exploring that that all means tomorrow and beyond.

Sunday, Aug. 29, 12:46 a.m.

FENTY STILL LACKS SUPPORT IN D.C.'S BLACK COMMUNITY

Another troubling note for Team Fenty: The Post poll indicates about six in 10 black Democrats believe that Fenty mostly cares about upper-income Washingtonians. Black voters across the city questioned his honesty and more than 50 percent had "unfavorable views" of the mayor, according to the Post's story.

It should be noted that we haven't yet found these specific numbers on the Post's website and are (at this point) only going off the paper's reporting.

These numbers mesh with the Clarus Research Group poll, which also indicated that Fenty's support in the District's black community was waning. In that poll, only 19 percent of black men and 15 percent of black women who were surveyed said they would likely support Fenty.

@slarimer

Sunday, Aug. 29, 12:31 a.m.

CAN'T BUY YOU VOTES

If the Post's poll bears out, all the money in the world may not be enough to save Adrian Fenty.

Nevertheless, the latest campaign finance reports (released this month) show Fenty continues to enjoy a sizable fundraising advantage, having raised a total of $4.7 million to Gray's $1.3 million. The mayor had $1.9 million cash on hand at the time, according to the reports, while Gray had $689,808. Gray's fundraising rate, however, outpaced Fenty's in the last reporting period.

The next campaign finance reports are expected on Sept. 7, one week before the primary.

Sunday, Aug. 29, 12:04 a.m.

GRAY LEADING (BY A LOT) IN POST POLL

The poll indicates Gray is leading Fenty 49 percent to 36 percent among registered Democrats, and is crushing the incumbent mayor 53 percent to 36 percent among likely voters.

The gap may prove to be insurmountable, and illuminates the mayor's  increasingly dimming chances of being re-elected.

The political peril the former wonderboy — elected at age 39 35, he was the youngest mayor in the District’s history — now finds himself in is shocking. While Fenty is losing support, city residents have renewed confidence in the District's future. Two-thirds of the electorate says Fenty has brought needed change to the city. Fifty nine percent of voters feel the city is on the right track, compared to a mere 42 percent in 2006, the year Fenty took office. Sixty four percent say the mayor has accomplished either a ‘great deal’ or a ‘good amount’ since taking office. Twice as many voters believe the city’s schools are getting better as believe they are getting worse.

Sunday, Aug. 29, 12:00 a.m.

The poll numbers!

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