Sherwood's Notebook: Cue the Fenty Comparisons - NBC4 Washington
Decision D.C.

Decision D.C.

Sherwood's Notebook: Cue the Fenty Comparisons



    Sherwood's Notebook: Cue the Fenty Comparisons

    Well, Muriel Bowser has nabbed the Democratic nomination for D.C. mayor -- which means it's time to cue the Fenty Comparison Contest.

    Bowser, the current Ward 4 councilmember, succeeded Adrian Fenty in 2007 after he was elected mayor. Bowser says she shares his sense of urgency when dealing with government red tape, but readily acknowledges that his demeanor and impatience helped drive him from office, too.

    After seven years on the D.C. Council, Bowser reassembled much of the Fenty team for this contest, and she showed a discipline that other candidates should admire. She sought to brand herself as the non-Vincent Gray candidate, with a fresh voice for the city after years of scandal.

    Her success in Ward 4, with its higher-income African-American and white voters, demonstrated she could cross racial lines. And she has recognized the city's growing Hispanic and Latino vote, even trying a little Spanish in some of her remarks.

    Like Gray, Fenty and Anthony Williams before her, Bowser sees herself as a leader of a city that is rapidly growing, shaking off its image as a government town, and fiscally flush enough to address any number of issues, including those citizens who feel all that progress has left them behind.

    But the Democratic victory is just that -- a primary victory.

    Councilmember David Catania, running as an independent, remains an obstacle in November. While many observers say Gray would have been easier to defeat, Catania has said voters still need a choice.

    He says the Democratic primary was just to determine whom the voters wanted -- other than Gray. He says the fall campaign will be about who can be the best mayor.

    ■ What's next for Gray? Throughout his campaign, Gray battled the still-active federal probe into his tainted 2010 victory. Gray supporters decried the investigation and kept pointing to his overall record as mayor, a record even some critics say has been pretty good.

    During his term, Gray has promoted a "One City" theme in his work on economic development, education and crime, and he still has more than nine months to go as a lame-duck mayor.

    But there's still the question of what U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen will do next.

    Gray's attorney, Robert Bennett, said near the end of the primary that Gray might be indicted but would not barter a plea deal and would fight in court to clear his name. That could make for a long summer.

    Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

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