Power of the Peebles

Millionaire developer 70 percent on run for DC mayor

Millionaire developer Don Peebles -- okay, R. Donohue Peebles if your want to get formal -- is making more noise about running for mayor against incumbent Adrian Fenty.

Peebles told WTOP radio that he'll decide within the next 10 days or so but added that there's a "70 percent" likelihood that he'll jump into the campaign.

The biggest news may be the big bucks that Peebles can bring to any effort. Peebles told NBC4 and WTOP that he would probably need to spend $3 million to $5 million of his own money to challenge Fenty. That kind of private funding would wipe out Fenty's fundraising head start of the past year. Fenty has worked hard to collect almost $3 million. Peebles could simply write a check.

Any Peebles candidacy could short-circuit the possible campaign of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. The chairman has been making a lot of noise about challenging Fenty, but Gray would start from almost zero in raising campaign cash.

Some political observers said they could see Peebles and Gray teaming up against Fenty. In that scenario, Peebles would run for mayor and Gray would run for an easy reelection as chairman, taking shots at Fenty as needed. (Gray has no announced opposition should he seek the chairman's seat again.)

The mayoral campaign is just getting its sea legs for a long haul. Despite his troubles, Fenty is still seen as a very strong candidate who has the power of incumbency going for him. Fenty's own advisers acknowledged that he has needlessly --- some say foolishly --- hurt his own reformer image by fighting too much with the D.C. Council and getting caught up in personality dispute over baseball tickets and police squads accompanying his bicycle rides. There are also complaints that Fenty treats people in a high-handed way.

Peebles -- who said he'd run a campaign focused on neighborhood improvements -- said Fenty can't be successful "if he won't talk to ten of the 13 council members."

It could be a lively campaign.

If neither Gray nor Peebles make the leap, some city observers say at-large Councilman Kwame Brown, who would not have to give up his council seat, may run against Fenty. 

It should all shake out in a matter of weeks.

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