D.C., Maryland Primary Election Results 2010: Gray wins, Fenty concedes
Updated: November 2, 2010 - 11:21 am
- (Photo: Jay Westcott)
A Washington Post poll released in late August found that Fenty was 17 points behind Gray among likely primary voters. He didn’t fare much better in a Washington City Paper/WAMU poll that was released last week. In that survey of Democratic voters, Gray led Fenty 50 to 39 percent. All the while, the majority of District residents have said they are happy with the direction of the city and that they are pleased with the changes implemented under the Fenty administration.
Did Adrian Fenty, the son of a bi-racial couple, turn his back on the city’s black community? Many leaders and activists seemed to think so. There was grumbling about Fenty’s focus on dog parks and bike lanes, both municipal improvements that Fenty’s opponents argued appealed to an upper- to middle-class white demographic. There were also loud complaints about a botched meeting with the late Dorothy Height and poet Maya Angelou, Fenty’s tin ear, and his petty disputes with the council, which included a particularly dreadful spat over baseball tickets. The incidents were often minor, but when viewed together they formed an ugly picture of the District’s young mayor, for whom so many had held so much hope.
Some of the complaints turned out to be more hooey than fact. A Post analysis, for example, showed that the issues he focused on didn’t just benefit white communities. But other gripes were legitimate. The images of Sinclair Skinner and Omar Karim, both Fenty fraternity brothers, in front of the D.C. Council was hard to shake, and gave substance to references of cronyism.
Fenty won the Democratic primary in 2006 riding a wave of energetic, youthful optimism. He famously knocked on doors and climbed stoops from Congress Heights to Takoma, and his slick campaign operation became the stuff of legend. There was much expected from the District’s new leader, who inherited a crummy public school system and was dealt a national economic downturn that strained the city.
Gray, who has a strong background in social service and an adequate council record, hasn’t exactly promised sweeping change, but he has told voters they can expect a better attitude from their mayor. Known for his wonkish personality and collaborative style, Gray has released four platform plans — two of which came after early voting already started in the city — detailing his vision for Washington. He has promised a more inviting city government, and in turn has been embraced by organizations and activists that felt shunned under the Fenty administration.
Fenty held a fundraising edge throughout the primary and entered the final days of the race with $809,574 cash on hand to Gray’s $443,935. He had raised more than $4 million overall, collecting hefty donations from from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But money and fame were not enough.
Four more years of Fenty would have meant more from D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier, Attorney General Peter Nickles and Transportation Director Gabe Klein. The same can't be said with certainty for a Gray administration. Rhee has strongly suggested she couldn't work with a mayor who didn't provide the kind of support she's received from Fenty, and Gray has called on Fenty to fire Nickles. Though Klein has said he would work for Gray, and Gray has been complimentary of Lanier.
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