The revelation of illicit funds used in Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign inevitably brings up the question of whether Gray would have been elected without them.
Gray still maintains he knew nothing of the illegal activity. However, Tuesday's guilty plea by one of his longtime associates -- who admitted to helping foster a $653,000 shadow campaign -- is only fueling speculation.
At a press conference today, Gray said he has no plans to resign from his post.
But the Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe writes that the District deserves a re-do election because of the “elaborate, secret, and illegal scheme to swing votes to Gray.”
If it weren’t for the $653,000 would Adrian Fenty have won the election? Jaffe writes:
Gray was dirty. We were robbed.
Let’s leave aside who else might come to justice for criminal acts. Jeff Thompson, by many measures a pillar of the community, looks like toast. Everyone assumes Gray will be forced to resign, though federal investigators have yet to reveal whether he directed any aspects of the criminal enterprises. More people will go to jail.
That’s cold comfort for a city whose last election is looking to have been more of a coup d’etat.
Gray seems to think how he won the election is irrelevant, and the discussion should instead be focused on how he governs.
“Take a look at what this administration has done,” Gray said, touting his work on public safety, economic development, education and other issues. “That’s why I wanted to make the distinction between the campaign, which we know there are issues with, and governing.”
CityPaper's Loose Lips jumps into the discussion and has a rather creepy picture of Fenty with Gray’s mustache and hair:
And Vince Gray, who insisted that process did matter -- who was, in fact, Mr. Process -- won that election easily on a platform of being more inclusive, a better listener, and an all-around mensch. His campaign slogan: "Character, Integrity, Leadership."
Now that prosecutors say Gray won that contest with an assist from a $650,000 shadow campaign paid for by one of the city's biggest healthcare contractors, the mayor is asking voters to ignore the process by which he got elected and instead focus on the good results he's achieved once in office.
U.S. News and World Report writes that this is the real election scandal in Washington right now:
There is strong resentment of the idea that D.C. is like some child-state that needs to be disciplined and guided by the federal government and a Congress made up of people who openly express hostility for the nation's capital.
But it would help if our current city leaders didn't play into their hands.
* The latest poll shows President Barack Obama with a significant lead over Mitt Romney in the important swing state of Virginia.
Obama leads Romney 50-42 percent, according to Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm. Forty-nine percent of polled voters approved of the job Obama is doing as president, while 47 percent disapproved.
The poll also shows Obama with a narrow -- 47 to 46 percent -- lead over Romney in North Carolina.
This is encouraging news for the president who, according to The Hill, was assumed to lose numbers in these battleground states after his support of same-sex marriages and the recent Supreme Court ruling on healthcare.
It is unclear what Romney’s strategy should be to gain his footing in Virginia. Tapping Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell as his veep would only give him one additional point in a head-to-head matchup. And with Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on his ticket, the Democrats jump to a 12-point lead.
There’s another potential problem for Romney in Virginia: former Rep. Virgil Goode. Goode is running on the Constitution Party ticket and could hurt Romney’s results in Virginia.
The PPP poll shows Goode getting 9 percent of the votes in his home state of Virginia.
"If we can get some name recognition here, we hope it will spread to other states," said Goode, who still must qualify for the Virginia ballot.
Obama leads Romney 50 percent to 42 percent in Virginia, the poll shows. Adding Goode to the mix, however, cuts Romney's support to 35 percent, while Obama barely moves down to 49 percent.
* U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell urging him to avoid “a costly and historic mistake” by opting Virginia out of the federal health-care law’s Medicaid expansion, according to the Washington Post.
On Tuesday McDonnell said he was considering opting out.
Connolly wrote in his letter that the state would lose more than $9.2 billion in federal money over the first five years of the new healthcare law if it doesn’t participate in the expansion.
* Democrat Senate hopeful Tim Kaine had his strongest fundraising quarter yet, raising $3 million in the highly anticipated Senate race between him and George Allen.
According to the RTD, the Kaine campaign reports having $2.7 million left in the bank after spending $3.5 million to reserve fall advertising airtime.
Allen has not yet released his fundraising totals for the quarter.
* President Obama will make six campaign stops in Virginia this weekend.
According to the Post, on Friday he'll stop in Virginia Beach, Hampton and Roanoke. On Saturday, he will travel to Clifton, Henrico and Fairfax counties. Other locations have not been announced.
Sen. Mark Warner and Senate hopeful Tim Kaine will appear alongside Obama Friday.
* On Thursday, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani will campaign on behalf of Mitt Romney at a Veterans for Romney event at 2 p.m. in Virginia Beach, the Virginian-Pilot reports.
* Read Dave Weigel’s Slate piece about the taxicab legislation that the D.C Council passed Tuesday. The teaser: “How D.C.’s atrocious, corrupt and outdated cab cartel lived to see another day.”
* The D.C. City Council granted LivingSocial as much as $32.5 million in property and income tax breaks Tuesday.
The Council had already given the measure preliminary approval last month.
According to Washington Business Journal, the online coupon company would need to both become profitable and continue hiring in the District to receive the full credit.
* On MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Show Tuesday night, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley criticized Romney’s reported investments in bank accounts or corporations in the tax havens of the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland, according to the Baltimore Sun.
O’Malley would not go as far as calling the investments unpatriotic, but said that such a strategy means "you're not contributing to the economy and not making it grow."
* George Allen’s latest ad in his Senate race against Tim Kaine: