City Paper is not for tourists
In District politics, the craziest thing that can happen usually does. A years-long scheme blew hundreds of thousands of dollars tampering with elections. Jim Graham represented Ward 1, then became a strip club promoter. Water park enthusiast Vincent Orange ran for mayor—twice!
In that tradition, the Post reports on a rumor that’s been floating around for while: ex-mayor and federal investigation target Vince Gray is mulling a D.C. Council run.
This is all still pretty vaporous for now. Still, barring a potential prison term, Gray will be eligible to run for three seats next year: Ward 7 and the two at-large seats.
In Ward 7, he’d be up against incumbent Yvette Alexander, Gray’s old protege. In the at-large race, he’d face either Democrat Vincent Orange or independent David Grosso, depending on whether he ran in the Democratic primary or for Grosso’s set-aside seat reserved for non-Democrats.
In an appearance today on WAMU’s The Politics Hour, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans said Gray would make a tough opponent.
“Vince is a very good candidate,” said Evans, whose own 2014 mayoral campaign doubled as an argument for Gray’s re-election. “If he runs, I think he would be formidable.”
Wilson Building wags figure a Ward 7 run is less likely to appeal to Gray than the at-large race. Ward 7 would put him up against Alexander—an unappealing prospect, even as Alexander cozies up to Muriel Bowser‘s Green Team. It would also potentially put Gray in conflict with former Gray-era fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe, who’s said to be mulling a run of his own.
In the at-large race, Gray would likely be facing Orange, who has been buttering up the mayor (and her fundraising apparatus) himself. If Orange can pull off his mayoral wooing, a Gray-Orange face-off would offer the prospect of a proxy war between Gray and Bowser. Plus, an at-large seat would put Gray in a better position for a 2018 chairman run against Council chairman and former foe Phil Mendelson.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery