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While most of the District’s attention was focused Saturday at the Mall, and why Sheryl Crow was trying to perform a duet with Kid Rock to a song she obviously didn’t know the words of, LL was at Shiloh Baptist Church for pre-election rally for Almost Mayor Vince Gray and most of the rest of the Democratic ticket (plus “independent” at-large Councilmember Michael A. Brown).

The gym at Shiloh was the same space Gray held his pre-election rally for the primary. That rally both a Latin-sounding band (complete with pan flute) and an overeager D.J. (complete with annoying sound effects interjected during speeches). That rally had the Rev. Walter Fauntroy preaching about how Gray was the embodiment of the civil-rights movement, and yesteryear’s civil rights heros would have voted for Gray over Still Mayor Adrian Fenty—if they were still alive.  And finally, that rally had Gray dancing.

This rally had none of those accoutrements. Instead it had a steady parade of officeholders warning the 100 or so Democratic diehards who had bothered to show up that now is not the time to get lazy just before the election. In other words, remember to vote Tuesday.

“Watch out Democrats,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Some highlights:

  • Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells solicited a lusty round of boos when he mentioned the Washington Post, and said their editorial board is “on the verge of being irresponsible” in advocating for local Republican candidates. Wells later complained on Twitter that he should have gotten more applause for keeping his speech brief.
  • Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., who is currently under an investigation that was essentially prompted by his Republican challenger Tim Day, told the crowd that the GOP has no other strategy other than attacking their opponents.”Democrats around the country and in this city need to start taking roll call and holding other Democrats accountable who don’t support Democrats,” Thomas said, who called the write-in campaign for Still Mayor Adrian Fenty, “tomfoolery.”
  • And At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson ended his speech with this rousing call to arms: “Let’s get out there on Tuesday and kick some butt.”

For his part, Gray stuck to his stump speech about fighting for statehood rights. As others have noted, the statehood push has become one of Gray’s favorite and best-received talking points during his townhall meetings.

LL thinks the new Republican Congress set to take over after tomorrow’s elections (which, in the rest of the United States, will actually send voting lawmakers here) is very likely to want to put a statehood bill on the agenda; GOP leaders may even want to push that initiative into the a lame-duck session, just to get it sent to President Obama—who’s obviously very eager to sign it into law—as soon as possible.

Photo by Alan Suderman