By Nikita Stewart
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, finding himself in a contentious race with Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, spent more than $1.8 million - mostly in television advertising - in June and July.
The rapid spending after months of sitting on millions of dollars leaves Fenty with $1.9 million in cash on hand as the Sept. 14th Democratic primary approaches.
But the mayor's ability to raise money has also slowed tremendously--he has already tapped local government workers, contractors and developers for the maximum $2,000 contributions. Since June 11, Fenty has raised just $308,454, compared to $707,911 raised by his main challenger, Gray, during the same period, according to campaign finance reports filed just before midnight Tuesday.
Gray spent $585,701 in the same period and now has $689,808 in cash on hand. Overall, Fenty continues to crush Gray in his overall total raised: $4.7 million to $1.3 million.
But in a summer contest that often comes down to the campaigning during the last 30 days, Gray appears to be giving Fenty a run for his money. The council chairman has amassed a series of wins at Democratic straw polls, including a victory in Fenty's home ward last Wednesday night. Fenty has blanketed those events with paid staff and volunteers, but Gray has managed to beat him out anyway.
Fenty has most recently solicited donations from supporters by explaining that he needs campaign funds in order to stay visible on television. Gray has no television advertising, but he has received high marks for utilizing social media. He launched his first radio ad last week.
But Mark Zuckerburg, co-founder of Facebook, is in Fenty's corner. The entrepreneur gave Fenty $2,000 as did Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.