Post Begs for Fenty Competition

Editorial: Debate about Fenty's term requires a strong opponent

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    NEWSLETTERS

    flickr.com/bootbearwdc
    Vincent Gray

    A week after real estate entrepreneur R. Donahue Peebles announced he won't challenge Mayor Adrian Fenty in this year's election, the Washington Post is asking D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray to make up his mind to run already. Not because the paper wants to endorse Gray, necessarily, but because it wants to see a public debate about Fenty's controversial first term.

    Mr. Fenty would be able to point to his accomplishments -- bold educational reforms, vigorous efforts to improve city services and success in battling crime. Mr. Gray, with his own record of leading the council and his clear commitment to human services, would have the chance to say what he would do differently. And he could challenge Mr. Fenty for the supposed arrogance of his governing style.

    Fenty's first term has chafed many -- including Gray and many council members -- so a strong candidate should make it a tight race.

    Gray told the Post he likes his chances if he decides to run, saying the residents want a change.

    But Fenty's accomplishments -- better schools, lower crime -- are easy to see despite his clashes with the council, and a campaign might end Gray's political career.

    To take on the mayor in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, Mr. Gray would have to risk what, at this point, promises to be his easy reelection as Council chairman. It's a powerful job and one Mr. Gray clearly loves. He'll also probably want to await the outcome of inquiries by the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance into questions concerning his fundraising activities and repairs to his home.

    Many business leaders, unions and council members, including Marion Barry, also have urged Gray to get in the game, the Washington City Paper reported, and the sooner the better. The mayor's got a $3 million head start and growing.