Is Adrian AWOL?
Mayor Adrian Fenty continues to dodge direct encounters with rival Vincent Gray. After skipping out on an education debate and what would have been joint forums before the Convention Center Community Association and the Mt. Vernon Square Neighborhood Association, Fenty now may be backing out of a debate sponsored by the Georgetown Business Association and the Citizens Association of Georgetown.
If Fenty is afraid to meet Gray on favorable turf like Georgetown, will he meet him anywhere?
Fenty has not been entirely absent. He still continues to make regular appearances in his role as mayor, where he controls the platform and the agenda. But Fenty seems less and less willing to enter any arena where surprises or criticism may greet him.
The Washington Times says Fenty skipped back-to-back forums this week. The paper said he didn’t show up at Brown Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill Monday, and wasn’t at Israel Baptist Church in Northeast on Tuesday, ceding the stage to Gray and Leo Alexander.
The Times says Fenty “has offered no explanation and voters are starting to notice.” One attendee at the Tuesday event, who said she had been backing Fenty, is now volunteering for Gray’s campaign.
Fenty is in free-fall, and such antics will not get him a second term. In recent weeks, Gray has won the endorsements of most major government employee unions, the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, the D.C. Tenants Advocacy Coalition, and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce.
Former Fenty adviser Peter Rosenstein, a prominent gay rights activist, has also switched to Gray, and Fenty is even having a hard time in his native Ward 4. In short, Gray is building the same sort of broad, deep coalition that elected Fenty four years ago, while Fenty flounders.
Those close to Fenty have expressed doubts about whether their man is as committed to winning a second term as he was to winning a first. If he keeps to his current course, Fenty won’t have to worry about that second term for much longer.
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