D.C Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray scored a landslide victory in an endorsement vote held Saturday night by the D.C. Latino Caucus, the official voice of Hispanics within the D.C Democratic State Committee.
The vote means the caucus is working on Gray's behalf against incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.
According to Franklin Garcia, who heads the caucus, 37 members voted to endorse Gray compared to one vote for Fenty.
Before the vote, the organization held a mayoral candidates forum but Fenty did not show up. Despite Fenty's outreach to the Hispanic community, including his unsuccessful effort last year to install Ximena Hartsock as director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, some Hispanic leaders have criticized the mayor for not meeting with them enough.
Political strategists expect fewer than 10,000 Hispanics will vote in the primary, but activists note those voters could prove the margin of victory. Polls show Gray running strongly among African-Americans while Fenty has the edge among white residents.
Despite the endorsement of Gray, Fenty is expected to continue efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community and has enlisted the help of several Spanish-speaking campaign aides and volunteers.
-- Tim Craig