Loose Lips

Vince Gray Wins Current Endorsement

Northwest Current publisher Davis Kennedy has had his hours-long grillings with the mayoral candidates, and now he's making his endorsement: Vince Gray.  

While the notoriously Internet-wary Current hasn't posted its latest issue online yet, you can read the endorsement on Twitter. After praising Gray for his schools policy and criticizing him for homelessness and the state of the fire department, the Current takes Gray up on his offer to "turn the page" on the 2010 shadow campaign:

But a strong record doesn’t address many voters’ concerns about the “shadow” campaign waged to help elect him four years ago. Mr. Gray told us that he was unaware of the illegal effort, and most of the people we asked about his integrity—an array of political insiders—have said they don’t question it. While we think he should have been aware of the shadow campaign, we believe he was in the dark. And we think that if the evidence existed to indict him, the U.S. attorney would have done so by now.

The Current is apparently still holding a grudge against the Large Retailer Accountability Act supporters, with three candidates—Andy ShallalVincent Orange, and Evans—dinged for backing it. The paper passed over Muriel Bowser and Tommy Wells, meanwhile, for lack of management experience.

Ex-State Department official Reta Jo Lewis and White House party crasher Carlos Allen get the worst assessments, with the editorial saying that they “don’t demonstrate the grasp on the issues that we would demand of our mayor."

Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies declined to compare the Post endorsement won by Bowser and Gray's Current win, then did so anyway. "You’re talking about a newspaper that is completely out of touch versus a newspaper that has its finger on the pulse," Thies says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • DC Guy

    This may be the Mayor's most important endorsement as it provides a different perspective to voters who actually read the editorial hole in an area that is rich with former Fenty supporters.

    If this moves the needle at all in West of the Park neighborhoods, then Gray will win this election fairly easily.

  • Tom M.

    @ DC Guy -- WaPo endorsement and concern over poor ethics as endemic to DC government -- council AND executive branch is likely to drive west of the park strongly to Bowser or anyone who has the best chance to unseat Mayor Gray. Remember that west of the park was overwhelming for reelecting Fenty -- despite CM Cheh's endorsement of Gray in the primary.

  • DC Guy

    I don't disagree, but this paper was emphatically for Fenty 4 years ago, and the fact that it has switched to Gray now will give some/many West-of-Park voters pause to reconsider Gray. I am not saying it WILL happen, but it COULD happen.

    There are many voters who have been sitting on the fence, and something like this could make the break to support what they know, rather than changing course.

  • Miss Lu Lu Hog

    How many people read the Northwest Current? Many apartment dwellers in Wards 3 & 4 don't get this paper in their buildings.

  • Tom M

    @ DC Guy - If the mayor gets more than 15% of the vote in the primary from ward 3, i'll be very surprised.

  • T. Daley

    I've lived in Crestwood for over 10 years now, and love & read the Current weekly because of its purely journalistic efforts. This is HUGE news for Mayor Gray! While it won't garner him a majority of the votes in Ward 4, he will gain some, including me and my family. I agree wholeheartedly with the paper's fair assessment of the mayoral race and cadidates.

    I am extremely encouraged by the direction Mayor Gray is leading this City. I love DC and I want it to truly be a world class city and I believe we should stay the course with Mayor Gray.

  • SEis4ME

    Tom M., if you are correct, that means that Ward 3 voters aren't voting out of principle but are in lockstep w/the WPost's continuing fight with Gray over Fenty's loss.

    Even though Fenty ended up not being my favorite, Bowser has at no point distinguished herself in any measurable way comparable to Fenty. So favoring a rather unimpressive candidate w.no credible experience over the current mayor does not paint a good picture of W3 voters.

  • Tom M

    @ SEis4ME - I said that the Mayor's lack of ethics that has already yielded 4 criminal indictments for activities done in his campaign and on his behalf and which may include yet a 5th indictment -- his own -- is a huge factor as i see it in how the ward 3 vote will break in the primary. The WaPo endorsement reinforces this in large part because it says that the mayor has neither explained nor responded formally to the criminal inquiry nor the public's desire to hear what he knew and when he knew it. I do NOT believe that Ward 3 voters are in lock step with WaPo nor that their votes in this primary will be largely a refighting of Fenty/Gray. However, Gray did poorly in ward 3 in the last primary and i strongly suspect and predict that will be the case on April 1, 2014.

  • Dan

    The Current makes real good sense in saying that Wells and Bowser are lightweights when it comes to management. There are many who agree as I do wholeheartedly. To vote for lightweights as opposed to voting for someone who has clearly demonstrated that they can take this city in the right direction, is clearly a disservice to this great city.

  • Veazey R. Quackenbos

    @DC Guy, I'm pretty sure the Current endorsed Gray four years ago.

  • SEis4ME

    Tom, I imagine for most it's a ruse.

    What exactly does the WPost (and others) feel Gray is "able" to talk about while under investigation. What legal mind has anyone there talked to who have suggested that it's a good idea for a person under investigation to be "forthcoming" beyond what Gray has done.

    It's not that residents don't have the "right" to know. It's that every mildly intelligent person KNOWS why he "won't" talk about it. So no, I don't buy that the great minds at the Wpost nor W3 voters are so concerned about ethics that they ignore far more impressive candidates in favor of the one whose best qualification boils down to having the ability to beat an otherwise Effective mayor.

    If they overwhelmingly support Bowser's lack of credentials, it'll become clear that it was done for reasons the WPost itself felt necessary to point out - A Fenty Protege....

  • drez

    4 years ago Davis Kennedy refused to endorse Fenty over crony contracting- an ethics issue in which no criminal charges were ever filed and in which Fenty was not implicated by the Trout report.
    I wonder if that at all crossed his mind this endorsement of Gray.
    I mean, 4 of his top people have pled guilty felonies, and he's still under federal investigation in the largest campaign fraud case in DC history.
    I wonder how he would answer if asked or if, like Gray, he wouldn't really have an answer.

  • urbanette

    Miss Lu Lu - People with kids in DCPS read the Current. Since WaPo has very thin local coverage, the Current is the best place to find out about redistricting, school budgets, etc. This is going to be a low turnout election, as a lot of people don't like any of the candidates (and Cheh is unopposed, which will further suppress the W3 vote), so that means this endorsement could make a difference.

  • Trent

    Drez you are a racist.

    Just like the wash post.

    Since when did dbonis start working for the green team?

  • JuFrend

    The Current is honest, while the Wash Post editorial board continues to behave like Monsieur Candy from Django. They are all prejudice and racist.

  • Davis K

    We endorsed Mayor Gray because he has earned the right to be reelected by those that matter.: the taxpayers.

    He is fiscally responsible and has governed with maturity, emotional intelligence and success.

    The cloud of his 2010 campaign looms, but his record of service and accomplishments is unparalleled with any other candidate.

  • drez

    ^ Note how quickly "One City" is willing to play the race card. It's the goto response.

  • Trent

    Drez...the post caters to everyone, except African Americans.

  • Zed

    When I think of the mayor's race as if I were a boss hiring someone to manage a multi-billion dollar enterprise with thousands of employees, and I look at the resumes in front of me, other than Mayor Gray, the only candidate with significant managerial experience is Andy Shallal and Shallal's experiences still pale compared to someone with a proven track record as mayor.

    Candidates can say all the right things about any of a number of issues, but are they up to the task? Do they have the managerial ability? Where is the evidence? Give me examples of where they have demonstrated strong leadership.

    Some of the candidates might be better as cabinet members or staying where they are, growing and proving by future accomplishments that they are deserving of my vote in another race.

    I remain in the undecided column but I think about experience a lot.

  • drez

    Trent: what does The Post have to do with The Current's endorsement?

    The point I'm making is that The Current endorsed in 2010 based on ethics. In 2014 they chose to ignore that former priority of theirs.

  • BobbyDylan Rocks!

    This is huge! Who reads the Current? News and political junkies, the educated and curious, those who vote! The Current is readily available at many Metro stations and is the type of publication its readers make an effort to find and read each week. Its only shortcoming is it is a Ward 2, 3 & 4, NW distributed periodical limiting its citywide readership.

    drez is not a racist because he spouts the green machine/W. Post rhetoric. He is a contrarian to the status quo.

    Why does the W. Post love Fenty and hate Gray? Because their Kaplan School subsidiary was counting on a fat Public Charter School payday from billionaire wannabe Michelle Rhee.

    Who did Fenty focus his attention on as Mayor? Developers, Ward 3 DCPS families, middle and upper middle class yuppies and his Frat Brothers.

    The Trout Report did not find Fenty guilty; but it did find his frat bro's Sinclair Skinner and Omar Karim guilty of financial abuse! Fenty was like Chris Cristie ... A bully who didn't have to outline specifics. His shady crew knew the score and acted appropriately.

    How ironic that just today Muriel 'Fenty in Drag' Bowser had to cancel a planned 3/8/14 fundraiser at the Crestwood home of Sinclair Skinner due to poor optics!

    The last thing District taxpayer need is phoney engineer Sinclair Skinner getting his snout back in the trough of government contracting! Does he want to buy another luxury vehicle?

  • Bill Rich

    plain and simple the Washington Post lost important business with Fenty's loss and now they are banking on Bowser. It is and always has been about corporate interests.

  • Bill Rich

    Skinner is a former business partner of Adrian Fenty. He ran his last campaign into the ground. Despite having millions.

    He is also a public and proud bigot. A prejudiced man.

    Bowser is upset the invitation got into the hands of Michael Debonis from post.

    From Washington Post Newspaper

    Skinner has long been a controversial character in city politics, dating to his days owning a Georgia Avenue NW dry cleaners and serving on the advisory neighborhood commission in the area, when he became a thorn in the side of D.C. Council member Jim Graham and a frequent purveyor of racially charged rhetoric. But Fenty remained steadfastly loyal to Skinner, a talented field organizer, and who later figured into a major Fenty administration controversy when it was revealed he had a role in millions of dollars of parks contracts awarded outside the council’s oversight.
    An investigation commissioned by the council and performed by attorney Robert P. Trout concluded Fenty did nothing wrong, but found the city got dubious benefit from contracts with Skinner’s engineering firm. Liberty Engineering & Design hired an outside firm, then repackaged the work as its own, adding markups of more than $500,000. Skinner said the charges were justified by his ability to marshal subcontractors and cut through red tape to get the parks projects done, but Trout disagreed: “I don’t think he contributed to getting these contracts done in a timely, quality matter,” he said at the time.
    More recently, The Post reported that Skinner was quietly paid by businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson for public relations work while Fenty was mayor. Thompson is the alleged funder of an illegal “shadow campaign” for Gray’s election in 2010, among other illicit campaign finance schemes.
    Asked about the event, Bowser said Tuesday afternoon that Skinner “knows a lot of young people in the District who wanted to hear my vision, and we agreed to do that.”
    Skinner, she said, had no formal role in her campaign and would not have any role in her administration. Bowser also declined to comment on the findings of the Trout report, saying she hadn’t read it in some time, though she added: “Please make sure you refer to it as the Harry Thomas/Trout report” — a reference to the D.C. Council member who commissioned the investigation but was later found to have been embezzling city money and is now amid a three-year prison term.
    Several hours after Bowser addressed questions about the event, William P. Lightfoot, her campaign chairman, called to say the reception had been cancelled. The candidate, he said, “just doesn’t want to have one event become a controversy that distracts from the issues.”

  • Ivy

    Trent -

    drez is not white so he can't be a racist because he is not the majority white American. drez is a black man that hates being black and want's to be white and he never votes for black candidates. The crazy black ass drez is Shaw's only Martin Moulton who ran for the anc last year and he hates Gray.

  • Bill Rich

    Martin Moulton is a great American. He has done more for DC and his SMD than anyone else. Ivy you cannot prove who is who on this forum. Drez is a faceless entity.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Ivy, I thought Drez was a mulatto?

  • DCShadyBoots

    LOL @ the haters who still have the green poo on their noses. Give it a rest. He's gone and never coming back.

    Have a few seats!

  • DCShadyBoots

    I don't think so Ivy, I don't think Drez would make this statement publicly on Facebook

    Martin Moulton: "Fenty was being boo'ed at public events long before Gray entered the race and Fenty stopped going to public meetings even before then. He doesn't have a very thick skin (probably b/c he doesn't have a lot of fatty tissue) for public questioning.

    Can you imagine the level of vitriol if he were to win now that Gray is intelligently strategically doing his Ward victory lap/townhalls? Fenty wont be effective if he wins; he won on being the shiny young charmer change agent; he can't be that anymore with little support on the Council and he doesn't seem to have the stomach to be the hard nose tank to continue his current lines of reform.

    Are the GOP so stupid as to apply their anti-Obama strategy (otherwise known as an inability to face reality and an infantile attitude to solving problems) to the democratic majority in DC? Get your heads out of the sand. The people who didn't vote, don't vote, and Fenty has been tarred and feathered, partly b/c of his own foolish mistakes. Another vote will make him look more foolish.

    This type of campaign, even if successful in getting him elected, will make Fenty more despised than GW Bush and make him a very polarizing and divisive figure. He has little skill at bringing people together as he proved over the last few years. That will be awful for the city. We've got to learn how to move on and work out our differences with Vince Gray.

    Gray is extremely intelligent; the smart thing to do would be to give him a listen and stop avoiding him at your own peril."
    October 9, 2010 at 8:01pm

  • drez

    To say that Gray is justified in not answering questions about his illegal shadow campaign because he has the right to not incriminate himself is fine. But it by necessity also says Our highest elected official puts narrow personal interest over the interests of the broader public he was elected to serve.
    This is not "green team rhetoric" or "the post's view" (though it may be those things too), it is straightforward and plain sense. It's the truth, and it's disqualifying.

  • DCShadyBoots

    (snicker) @ Drez.

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  • stick2yourguns

    Thank You Current because even Bowser's own area up town knows she cannot be mayor of Mayberry

  • SEis4ME

    DREZ, well that means you are completely out of touch with reality.

    Who puts the "people" in front of a FEDERAL investigation? Is that even something a prosecutor would encourage? Machen would suggest Gray speak publicly about the investigation? Really? Just sounds very out of the norm.

    So to suggest your "truth" supersedes normal practice is Green Team logic

  • drez

    Anyone who is willing to run for public office knows the office and the people they represent come before their own personal interests. I've done this myself and I've worked for many who have also.
    Answer me this: Why would you vote for someone who would put their own personal interests over yours? Because I certainly wouldn't.
    For Gray (the mayor) to hide behind his own personal attorney is tantamount to Gray abdicating his public duties.
    Who do you support? Gray the Mayor, or gray the private citizen?
    Because even though they are one in the same they are in conflict with eachother.

  • truth hurts

    Hey Chuck, looks like you're right: The Current does have its finger on the pulse. Which is why the Current retracted its endorsement of Vince "uncle earl" Gray.