When Vince Gray celebrated his 70th birthday last year at Nationals Park, the team gave him a baseball bat. This year, the mayor got something much more useful: a few more days to keep the city wondering about whether he’s running for re-election.

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander, who along with Ward 5’s Kenyan McDuffie was one of only two councilmembers who came, set the tone for the party at 14th Street’s trendy Lost Society nightclub. “I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I want you to all to join me in stating one thing: four more years!” Alexander said.

The crowd joined in and, when Gray started his own speech, it looked like he would oblige them. In what looked an awful lot like an incumbent’s stump speech, Gray touted recent test scores and the city’s ever-rising number of construction cranes (what will Andy Shallal say?). But Gray, facing one of the most receptive audiences he could find for a re-election launch, didn’t announce his plans.

“I love working on behalf of the District of Columbia,” Gray said. “And I’m not going any further right now.”

Still, Gray made a nod to the increasingly close Jan. 2 deadline for nominating petitions to get on the Democratic primary ballot.

“I know when Jan. 2 is,” Gray told the crowd. “If I were to possibly run, is there anybody in this room that would help me?”

Photo by Darrow Montgomery