courtesy of ‘erin m’
We’re nearing the home stretch here, with only 25 days to go until the primary. Expect to see campaigns across the city heat up in the final weeks, as candidates make their final pleas for votes, and take their final swipes at their opponents. The mayoral race is at once coming into focus and becoming ever more unpredictable. There’s only three more of these round-ups left to come, so let’s get to it.
The Big Race
The Clarus poll. Finally, us pundits and bloggers have some numbers to work with. As we reported earlier this week, the numbers tell us just what we expected–it’s a tight race. The narrative now, of course, is that Gray has pulled into the lead and that Fenty must catch-up. That’s never a good story for an incumbent. Other storylines are evolving as well, with the Examiner’s Freeman Klopott declaring, “Mayor Adrian Fenty is the white candidate and D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray is the black candidate.” There are a hundred ways to break down this race, from black versus white to rich versus poor to old guard versus new. This is a very unique election, where a mostly successful incument is on the verge of defeat. Required reading for junkies this week is of course Alan Suderman’s Fenty profile in the City Paper, which delves into the “personality gap.” Some are turned off by Fenty’s personality, and therefore pushed to Gray, who seems to have little personality. It’s fascinating and difficult to predict. We have debate after debate, forum after forum, and still no clear leader. These round-ups have been saying the election is trending Gray, so it’s no surprise he has pulled ahead, but this could go either way.
So, where are we? Fenty is hitting back with some new television ads, probably his best to date. We’re also seeing more mailings to the areas where this election will be the closest. This is where Fenty’s campaign chest can completely overwhelm Gray. Fenty will have an advantage with the last minute push, both on the ground, through the mail, and on the airwaves. Fenty’s “results” message is compelling, and with a large number of voters undecided, a last minute barrage could tip the scales towards re-election.
This isn’t to say Gray isn’t in a position to win. He’s been building support at an amazing rate, but has got to keep the momentum going in these final weeks. Gray needs to build on what he has, though, and build more on how his approach to governing would both be more ‘friendly’ but also yield more results. For that more than 20% undecided still out there, Gray has to sell his policy ideas as well as his personality. Perhaps he should think about airing this City Paper parody ad.
Not a lot of change here, the Clarus poll shows Kwame Brown heading into the last few weeks with a decent lead. There’s still a large number of undecideds, though, 29%. How will these undecideds break? Well, right now the Clarus numbers show the most undecides are in Wards 2 and 3, averaging 35%. Contrast that to only 24% in Wards 6, 7 and 8. Watch this race to be determined in NW, where voters may not be as familiar with either candidate. This race is getting interesting, even though most everyone in the establishment continues to think Brown has it in the bag. This poll was conducted after the Washington Post endorsed Orange. Clarus notes that Kwame Brown holds a strong lead among African-Americans, while the two candidates are in a tie among whites. I’d expect we’ll see a lot of visibility up in Wards 2 and 3 in the next few weeks.
Jeff Smith picked up another endorsement this week, this time the Washington Building Trades Council. This is a group of trade unions including bricklayers, electrical workers, iron workers, boilermakers, plumbers, plasterers and painters. Interesting to note that Smith has picked up the endorsement of both the Trades Council and the Chamber of Commerce, which ostensibly are both interested in furthering development and construction in Ward 1. I don’t have any figures in front of me but I find it unlikely many members of the Trades Council reside in Ward 1.
Jeff Smith and fellow challenger Bryan Weaver have managed to pick up a half-dozen or so endorsements amongst the the both of them, but incumbent Jim Graham is still far ahead both in endorsements (SEIU, AFSCME, UNITE HERE Local 25, Sierra Club, Allied Transit Union Local 689, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, The Intowner Newspaper, Victory Fund and TENAC) and fundraising. Barring any significant events in the next few weeks, it’s looking difficult for either Weaver or Smith to unseat Jim Graham. Of course, all of that can change in a heartbeat. A minor programming note, after the wrap-up of the primary, I will be spending some time talking about the GOP candidates for Council seats, so stay tuned.
Kenyan McDuffie late with his campaign finance report, from a statement:
As you all know, the Campaign Finance Report was due last Tuesday, August 10, 2010—the only one not turned in was ours. Kenyan McDuffie went to file his finance report on Tuesday; however, he requested and was granted an extension due to the K5 campaign treasurer’s unexpected illness. Kenyan ForWard 5’s Future will file the report by close of business next Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. We understand that remaining consistent and transparent is necessary to not only gain your vote on September 14, but to maintain your trust in the local government. Integrity and competent leadership stands as a base for the K5 Campaign, and we apologize that if this unforeseen circumstance has raised any red flags. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.
As of this morning, McDuffie’s report was not available online.