While his rivals spent the better part of 2013 running for his job, Mayor Vince Gray spent it not running. At least, not officially.

Between the ribbon-cuttings and his shutdown standoff with Congress, Gray’s mayoral duties looked like the best campaign going. But he made a show of appearing conflicted, consumed in the Wilson Building’s very own mayoral performance of Hamlet. Aides good-naturedly chuckled whenever a reporter asked if he planned to stick around for another four years. The prospect of Gray, pressed on one side by U.S. Attorney Ron Machen and ambitious councilmembers on the other, ever making up his mind seemed dim.

On Dec. 2, with exactly a month to go before petitions to get on the ballot were due, Gray finally made the call: He was running. Then he promptly stumbled, arguing with reporters at a press conference about the shadow campaign behind his 2010 election and struggling to be heard at a teacher’s union debate. Being in office, the mayor may soon remember, is a lot better than running for it.