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“This city is growing in development. I know this administration has been a huge part in making that happen,” Mr. Gray said. “Look at the job creation. Look at the education. Look at the economic development. Look at the public safety.”

His accomplishments over the past three years have secured Mr. Gray healthy support among the business community.

“He’s got a pretty good record,” D.C. Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Lang said. “I think the city has done well and businesses have done generally well.”

Ms. Lang said the scandal has been “harped on to death” for the three years Mr. Gray has been in office.

“We’ve had our share of overall scandals in the city — period,” she said.

Ted Leonsis, the billionaire former AOL executive who owns the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, told The Associated Press in an interview before Mr. Gray’s announcement that the scandals have not harmed the city’s business climate.

“There’s never been a better time for you to create a business in Washington,” Mr. Leonsis said, adding that he would support the mayor if Mr. Gray sought re-election.

Yvette M. Alexander, a Democrat who represents Ward 7 where the mayor lives, came out for Mr. Gray almost immediately after he declared Monday.

Ms. Alexander cited several issues under her purview as chairwoman of the city’s Committee on Health as reasons for her support.

She also said the mayor’s action to ensure six Wal-Marts were built in the District was also a reason for her endorsement. Without Mr. Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act, Wal-Mart executives had threatened to pull out of the planned D.C. stores — including two in Ward 7 — rather than pay wages and benefits the equivalent of $12.50 per hour.

“I think continuity in this case is definitely needed to keep things moving in the right direction,” she said.

The critics

While the investigation is a factor in assessing Mr. Gray’s electoral prospects, political observers also question whether his record as mayor is strong enough to stand on its own.

The mayor has faced criticism from community groups and labor organizers angered by his veto of the wage bill.

“Let there be no doubt that the coalition was very, very disappointed with the veto and his explanation,” said Joslyn Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO.

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