Mayor Vince Gray tried to put 2010 behind him at his campaign kickoff today, apologizing for any harm caused by his last mayoral campaign, which remains under federal investigation, but saying that only his opponents and ratings-obsessed reporters will continue to dwell on it.
“ I want to apologize for the pain that my campaign—-my campaign—-caused, and I want to ask your forgiveness for what happened,” Gray told the crowd, earning him a standing ovation and chants of “four more years” at Ward 8’s THEARC community center.
As with his apology earlier this week on WUSA9, Gray apologized for missing the campaign corruption said he could not, as he put it today, “apologize for the misdeeds of others.” Those others would include Howard Brooks, Thomas Gore, and Vernon Hawkins, all of whom have pleaded guilty to crimes connected to the campaign or the illicit shadow campaign.
“We can’t be mired in the past, ladies and gentlemen, we have too much to do,” Gray said.
Gray campaign co-chair Jerry A. Moore III echoed Gray in his introduction, recounting a story in which a reporter asked him a “loaded” question about the 2010 campaign.
After his apology, Gray touted his record, including rebuilt high schools and a drop in unemployment. A short video spot played before the event focused on spreading economic development to all 8 wards. Campaign manager Chuck Thies declined to say whether it will be the campaign’s first TV ad.
Gray did not talk to reporters after the event. Thies said that although Gray has apologized to voters, he doesn’t owe an apology to defeated opponent Adrian Fenty, because the shadow effort didn’t sway the election.
“I wish that you could take $600,000 and some yard signs and some T-shirts and change the outcome of an election,” Thies said.
Closing his speech, Gray recalled his “One City” slogan. “I will continue to have your back over the next five years—-one more year plus four,” Gray said.
Photos by Darrow Montgomery