SIMMONS: Mayor Gray has only himself to outrun in campaign

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Oh, bother.

After studying the tea leaves, Vincent C. Gray has decided to make another run in the race for mayor of the nation’s capital.

He didn’t have to, knowing the city would probably be well off in the hands of several other Democrats, chief among them D.C. Council members Jack Evans or Muriel Bowser.

But Mr. Gray has something to prove, something to prove to himself, to the voters of the District and to other residents and stakeholders who winked, nodded and funded his 2010 run against Democratic incumbent Adrian M. Fenty.

So, Mr. Gray did what any smart politician would do: He sized up the competition, tossed the tea leaves into the air and signed on the dotted line Monday.

His timing is genius.

Mr. Gray successfully vetoed an economic development measure sought by an ambitious rival, Vincent B. Orange, and remains in disagreement with him on another, a minimum-wage bill given preliminary council approval Tuesday.

Within 24 hours of his big news, Mr. Gray was all smiles in another rival’s back yard, that of Ward 6 council member Tommy Wells, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new Wal-Mart. And then he gets to do it all over again Wednesday in the face of a third rival, Miss Bowser, whose Ward 4 backyard becomes home to another Wal-Mart.

Three down in the Democratic race, and seven more to go in job-hungry D.C.?

Not necessarily.

Mr. Gray’s tea leaves also told me that Mr. Orange and Mr. Wells are not the contenders he has to outrun.

Mr. Evans and Miss Bowser present unique problems.

For one, many city residents and Wall Street like Mr. Evans, the longest-sitting D.C. lawmaker from Ward 2 who has been there in good times and bad. Indeed, he is the only elected pol in the city who has stayed true to his fiscal values.

Miss Bowser, meanwhile, is a native daughter whose name as mayoral contender was being hailed in Mr. Gray’s own Ward 7 backyard in 2010. And the folks who were hailing her name were talking about funding her run back then.

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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