Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander‘s June re-election chances went from “cakewalk” to “slugfest” last week, thanks to the new campaign of former mayor Vince Gray into the race for his old seat. But to hear Alexander tell it, her appearance on WAMU’s The Politics Hour this afternoon wasn’t about Gray at all.
“I’m not here to bash Vince Gray, but I think the people of Ward 7 will definitely speak,” Alexander said, before veering right back into Gray’s campaign. “It’s an insult, it’s an insult.”
So, bashing it is! After enduring Gray’s attacks during his own WAMU appearance, in which Gray all but called his former protege a failure, Alexander came to WAMU loaded down with some jabs of her own.
Alexander, who endorsed Gray’s 2014 re-election bid for mayor, said the recent audit showing huge amounts of unaccounted-for money in Gray’s 2010 campaign should disqualify him from future office.
“I do not think he deserves a pass even to run,” Alexander said.
Alexander elliptically implied that Gray knew about the illegal shadow campaign funded on his behalf by city contractor Jeff Thompson, saying that Gray will avoid charges because has “a good lawyer.” Then there was this, about whether Gray knew about the shadow campaign:
“Go to [Ward 7 neighborhood] Hillcrest and ask anyone if they feel that Vince Gray knew anything about a shadow campaign. Just ask the residents. People talk. You know, there’s a whisper, but you know, maybe people aren’t as confident so I’m going to put it out as there as a Ward 7 councilmember. Ask the people of Ward 7 ‘Did he know anything?’ and I think you’ll get the answer to your question.”
By comparison, Alexander claims her campaign operations have been “seamless.” (Not quite).
Alexander also criticized Gray for choosing 2014 mayoral campaign manager Chuck Thies, a Ward 5 resident, as his treasurer and spokesman. Instead, Alexander said, Gray should have picked a Ward 7 resident.
“It’s an insult that Vince Gray even chose him, an outsider,” Alexander said.
Gray didn’t talk with Alexander before announcing his bid to oust her, according to Alexander. Worse, says Alexander, Gray’s ultimate goal isn’t even the Ward 7 seat. Instead, he’s using the seat as a step-stool to take on former foe (and new Alexander patron) Muriel Bowser.
“I think it’s more revenge and retaliation,” Alexander said of Gray’s campaign. “I think he has his eyes on the mayor’s seat.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery