SIMMONS: Paging Mayor Gray in search of a decision

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Well, the Democrats are lining up for the 2014 race for mayor of the nation’s capital.

Many of the 10 names are fairly well-known, and more than a few have challenges to overcome.

Several of them are more worthy of voters’ attention than others.

First, though, I’d like to shout out to our current mayor, Vincent C. Gray, who is being a bit coy about his decision to run for a second term.

It’s a suit that doesn’t fit him well, even though I appreciate that he, too, probably appreciates that the current political landscape looks nothing like the one in 2010, when he whipped the socks off fellow Democrat Adrian M. Fenty.

Back then, D.C. voters were huddled in an anyone-but-Fenty posture, which bolstered the chances of a known politico like Mr. Gray, the then-D.C. Council chairman who also had served as a Ward 7 lawmaker and head of the Ward 7 Democratic Party.

Today, there also are thousands of new voters and residents who simply are unfamiliar with Mr. Gray and his politics.

In fact, the influx of new human capital into the city is moving at a fast and steady clip — an estimated 1,000 to 1,100 residents every month.

They move here not because of Mr. Gray’s politics but because he inherited a city that had been primed for considerable change.

To wit: Even the voting public changed drastically.

In August 2010, just prior to the primaries, there were 73,178 registered independents. This August, that number grew by 6,620.

Similarly, there was change among Democratic voters. While Democrats sustained their 75 percent majority from 2010 to 2013, Ward 4 was surpassed by new strongholds in Wards 5 and 6, where economic development, new multi- and single-family housing, transportation and education are top concerns. Many of these voters already have jobs.

Also, there is no independent dog of consequence in the mayor’s race, and the D.C. Republican Party looks like it’s sitting this one out, too.

The Democratic field looks like a drove of hungry jackasses with four council members leading the name-recognition pack.

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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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