Vincent C. Gray kicked off his challenge to incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty this afternoon, telling a crowd of more than 100 outside the Frank D. Reeves Center, “We can do better in the District of Columbia.”

But that was about all that Gray said.

Aside from a nod to “connecting with every voter that we possibly can to get our message out about why I will be the best candidate for mayor in the District of Columbia,” Gray did not venture an explanation of why he was running.

“We’re gonna talk about all that as the campaign unfolds,” he said, standing in front a crowd rich in union officials, ex-government muckamucks, and Fenty malcontents.

His complete remarks:

Good afternoon everybody. I am absolutely delighted to be here filing my papers to run for mayor of the District of Columbia. For those of you who don’t know, and I’d be happy to repeat it as many times as I do, I’m a native Washingtonian, I’m a graduate of the public schools of the District of Columbia, I went to George Washington University. In essence, I am a dyed in the wool homey. I absolutely love this city and I’m delighted to be able to step up to provide additional leadership in the District of Columbia. I look forward to a wonderful campaign, I look forward to connecting with everybody I possibly can in the city. The reality is, we can do better in the District of Columbia. We can do better. We can do better. And we will be talking about the ways in which we can do better during the course of this campaign. The campaign starts today. It started at 2:22 p.m. today. We look forward to continuing to do the business of the city but most of all connecting with every voter that we possibly can to get our message out about why I will be the best candidate for mayor in the District of Columbia.

At that point, WRC-TV’s Tom Sherwood asked, “What’s that message?”

Said Gray: “We’re gonna talk about all that as the campaign unfolds. As you all well know, there will be plenty of opportunity for us to talk about the issues; we will talk about any issue that anyone wants to talk about. But today is a day for celebration. Today is an opportunity to think upon the fact that we’ve filed, and we will talk about all of the issues later.”

With that, Gray was whisked away in a waiting Mercedes.

There is some indication of Gray’s campaign rhetoric. Signs wielded by supporters this afternoon were emblazoned with an updated version Gray’s “One City” logo on one side. And his new Web site offers this slogan: “One City. Leadership We Need.” So there’s that.

Photo by Matt Dunn

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