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Left field question of the day: Would Mayor Adrian Fenty ever consider pulling a Joseph Lieberman and running as an independent in the general election?
He may be trailing Gray in polls of Democratic voters, but the city’s Republicans love him Michelle Rhee—some enough to switch party affiliation and hold fundraisers for Fenty.
And it’s probably a safe bet to say the Green Team’s effort to include 72,000 independent voters in the Democratic primary wasn’t done for entirely altruistic reasons. Campaign chairman Bill Lightfoot says the Fenty campaign has been identifying voters of all strips, regardless of party affiliation, who are likely to vote for Fenty. The campaign must have liked the numbers it saw in independent voters enough to take a chance trying to convince the Board of Elections and Ethics to change a long-standing elections practice.
Add Republicans and independents together, and you’ve just added another 100,000 voters, or more than 20 percent of the total electorate, to the race. In a head-to-head matchup with Gray, it’s not hard to imagine Fenty doing quite well with those new voters. That might have been a decent general election strategy at one point; political consultant Chuck Thies (who supports D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, but isn’t affiliated with either campaign) said an independent Fenty with $4 million on hand, who’d left the Democratic Party earlier this year before Gray entered the race would have been a “tough nut to crack.”
But alas, it’s not meant to be. Asked if he’s ever considered running as an independent, Fenty says: “First of all, I really never get into what I would do [if he lost]… but I’m going to be honest with you, I wouldn’t do that.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery