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Ex-mayor Vince Gray is back on the campaign trail already taking shots at his main opponent. In an appearance on WAMU announcing his bid for the Ward 7 D.C. Council seat that he once held, Gray criticized Ward 7 incumbent and former protege Yvette Alexander.

In Gray’s telling, Alexander’s constituent service operations are so bad that Ward 7 residents ask him for help instead. If he hadn’t gotten into the Democratic primary race, Gray says, someone else would have tried to oust Alexander anyway.

“There’s wide dissatisfaction at this stage,” Gray said.

Gray’s campaign will be chaired by former high school classmate Carrie Thornhill. Ex-Gray mayoral campaign manager Chuck Thies, who organized the political action committee that polled on Gray’s chances in the race, will be the campaign’s treasurer. Gray says he’ll name his campaign manager soon.

With a “One City” pin on his suit and one of his former body men at his side, it looked like Gray’s mayoral campaign never ended. This time, though, Gray is running for a position he hasn’t held since 2007.

Gray claims that he hasn’t been humbled by his return to a ward-level race after opting not to run at-large against Vincent Orange.

“Ward 7 is home,” Gray said.

Still, Gray added that Orange has a “tough” race ahead of him.

Gray’s complaints about Alexander could set up an awkward contrast with 2007, when he anointed Alexander as his replacement in the Ward 7 seat. Gray said today that he doesn’t wouldn’t take back his endorsement of Alexander, despite his now low opinion of her.

Gray described Alexander as someone who once had “tremendous promise.” Alexander declined an immediate request for comment on Gray’s charges.

“I don’t have any regrets about endorsing her at that stage,” Gray said. “I just hoped she would grow into that position, and obviously there were some challenges.”

And he denied that his new campaign is part of an attempt to get revenge on 2014 mayoral foe Muriel Bowser, who is backing Alexander.

“There’s no way that I would do this to somehow seek retribution,” Gray said.

Photo by Will Sommer