Mayor Adrian M. Fenty cruised to an easy victory in Wednesday night's Ward 2 Democratic straw poll, marking the first time in the campaign that the mayor has prevailed over Vincent C. Gray in local ward Democratic committee balloting.
According to officials with the D.C. Democratic Committee, Fenty drew 97 votes to Gray's 63. The balloting was open to any registered Democrat in Ward 2, which includes Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Downtown and Shaw.
Considering Ward 2 is widely expected to be Fenty country in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, the Gray campaign likely will be more than pleased with it's 40 percent showing in the straw poll. In a classic game of setting expectations for reporters, Gray adviser Peter Rosenstein was telling reporters during the balloting that he expected Fenty to win by at least a 2-1 margin.
Although they are often not a good predictor of actual Election Day results, straw polls can be a good test of a campaign's field and get-out-the-vote operations.
On this front, the Fenty campaign appeared a bit more organized than the Gray campaign. When voters walked into the polling place at the Washington Plaza hotel on Thomas Circle, they were greeted by several Fenty volunteers who asked if they had been contacted by the campaign to attend. If they were, the Green Team checked their names off a computerized list of registered Ward 2 voters. For all that effort, however, the campaign only drew 97 people out of their apartments and houses to vote on a sticky Washington evening.
And if Fenty's operation can only muster 60 percent of the vote out of Ward 2 on Election Day, it could be an early night for the Green Team considering Gray's expected strength in communities in the eastern part of the city.
-- Tim Craig