Afternoon Read: Gray Supporters to Hold Rally Tomorrow

Amid pressure for Mayor Vincent Gray to resign, two local religious leaders are organizing a rally in  his support, demanding that the mayor be given the “courtesy and respect” of a “fair and equitable process.”

Last week, an ongoing investigation revealed a $653,000 shadow campaign run on Gray’s behalf during his 2010 mayoral campaign.

The rally, according to the DCist, will largely focus on encouraging Gray to stay in office as U.S. Attorney for D.C. Ron Machen continues his investigation.

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One of the rally’s organizers, the Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, told The Post that the calls for Gray’s resignation within the council highlight some racial tensions in D.C.

“You have Catania, who is white. Cheh is white. Bowser sees herself as the inheritor of [former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s] supporters and that by no means really reflected the community of color,” he said.

He added, “There’s that tension among people, among members of my church, in terms of suspicions of what’s going on. Nobody wants anybody to stay in office who’s a thief, who’s greedy, who’s dishonest. But particularly when you look at where we have gone, there’s real concerns, real worries that people are being priced out, moved out or politicized out.”

Tom Sherwood of NBC tweeted that Gray had this to say about the rally:

"I don't know what they're going to say; but it's nice of them..and I appreciate it."

But not everyone is pleased with this show of support.

Former D.C. mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown issued this statement, according to the DCist: "[It's] literally ridiculous and unconscionably stupid."

The rally will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday in front of the John A. Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

* Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told The Post he wants his state to opt out of the new federal health care law’s Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Bob McDonnell told legislators last week that he was considering opting out of the expansion but needs more information.

Cuccinelli is running against Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Bolling wrote a letter to McDonnell last week asking him not to expand Medicaid.

* In the highly-anticipated Virgina Senate race, Democrat Tim Kaine out-raised George Allen during the second quarter of the year.

Via National Journal:

Kaine raised $3 million in a state he'll need it to get his message out, with Crossroads expected to be major players in both the Senate race and presidential contest. Kaine ended the period with $2.7 million in the bank and purchased (not just reserved) $3.5 million worth of fall airtime. Former Republican Sen. George Allen, meanwhile, raised $2 million and ended with $3.34 million in the bank with fall ad time reserved, but not purchased.

The Roanoke Times editorial board is calling foul on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s attempt to connect Senate candidate Tim Kaine to convicted double-murderer Jens Soering.

But, Cuccinelli sank from hardball politics into partisan slime last week when he accused former governor and current Democratic Senate candidate Tim Kaine of having tried to keep Jens Soering from facing justice in a U.S. court. The attack is bizarre and thoroughly dishonest.

The attorney general said last week that when reviewing Soering's files, he found an affidavit Kaine wrote in 1988 addressing whether a Virginia inmate without legal training would be able to represent himself competently in a federal habeas corpus proceeding.

Kaine, an attorney who handled death row appeals, filed the affidavit as an expert witness in the unrelated case of death row inmate Joseph Giarratano. There's nothing extraordinary in that. The document became part of the public record, and Soering's lawyers included it in their filings when they tried unsuccessfully to block his extradition from Britain to face trial for the murders of his girlfriend's parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. There's nothing extraordinary in that.

Kaine's campaign said he had no memory of its use in the Soering case. There's nothing extraordinary in that.

What is extraordinary is Cuccinelli's assertion that he found it "most shocking that he [Kaine] was a witness on behalf of a double-murderer to help keep him from being extradited to Virginia, or at least to keep us from having available the death penalty in this case if he were extradited."

The attorney general's characterization of Kaine's role is such a wild distortion of the record that it is not to be believed.

* An aide to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake confirmed to The Post that she plans to meet Wednesday morning with Gov. Martin O’Malley about the possibility of expanding gambling in the state.

O’Malley would have to call a special session this summer in order to get gambling on November’s ballot.

The Post reported that Maryland leaders agreed Tuesday morning to spend a few more days assessing whether there are enough votes in the House of Delegates to pass an expanded gambling plan in a special legislative session.

Read the full article here.

* In a column for the Huffington Post, political consultant Peter Rosenstein asks what happens next in D.C. government.

If Vincent Gray knew about the "shadow campaign" during the campaign, he should resign and be punished to the full extent of the law. If he didn't and this all happened because of his late entry into the race and some of his erstwhile "friends" running amuck because they thought they needed more money to run against Fenty's $5 million war chest, he needs to work with his lawyer now and craft a full and complete explanation of how this happened. He needs to apologize to the people of the District. I still want to believe that the Vincent Gray I have known for many years is the decent and caring guy I have always thought him to be. If he didn't know and will not be charged with a crime, he shouldn't resign because that may be even worse for the people of the District of Columbia.

As mad as so many are at the Gray Campaign, and as furious and disappointed as I will be if it turns out that Gray knew about what was going on during it, that doesn't translate into a wish for the return to the past. There were many reasons that the previous mayor lost the election and those don't disappear with this scandal. If it is proven that Gray committed a crime and is forced from office, it is time for the District to move forward, not backward.

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