How Quickly Will Gray Get His Campaign in Gear

Council chair starts well behind in cash but not enthusiasm

By Tom Sherwood
|  Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010  |  Updated 4:12 PM EDT
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Style Versus Substance in DC Mayors Race

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Vincent Gray

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Style Versus Substance in DC Mayors Race

So far, the race for mayor in Washington, DC, is a test between two city leaders who offer the same vision for the city but sharply different styles.
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On Saturday, Council Chairman Vincent Gray gathered his family around him on stage as he held his first mayoral campaign rally.

When his daughter Jonice summed up the long wait while Gray had taken many, many months to decide whether to get in or not, the crowd laughed appropriately. But unfortunately for Gray, the long decision-making could signal potential trouble for his campaign. He is not known as a decision-making politician. Rather, he has a solid reputation as a serious, thoughtful legislator. In a race for mayor, that might not be 100 percent positive.

Although Gray filed formal papers to run a month ago, he was still promising on Saturday that he would release "detailed" policy differences with Mayor Adrian Fenty.  So far, the main point of his campaign is that he's not Fenty and will be nicer and more collaborative -- a favorite Gray word -- than the current mayor.

The early race for mayor is shaping up as a difference in styles between the 67-year-old Gray and the much younger Fenty. Many people like that Fenty has been a strong mayor who's made an impact on public safety, city services and schools, but has angered or ignored many people along the way.

Gray has held only one fundraiser -- no announcement on how much was raised -- while Fenty has more than $3 million in the bank. You can't buy love, but that kind of money can go a long way toward organizing and getting out your voters on Election Day.

Gray likely will raise far less than Fenty, but he promises to compete on enthusiasm and ideas.

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