D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has convinced another council member to hold off on calling for his resignation in the aftermath of reports last week that the mayor benefited from a $653,000 “shadow campaign” during his 2010 bid for office.
After effort was revealed publicly by the U.S. Attorney’s Office last week, D.C. Council members Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and David A. Catania (I-At large) all called on Gray to resign.
A fourth council member, Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), also appeared to be seriously contemplating calling for Gray’s ouster. In interviews with The Washington Post and other news outlets last week, Graham said he was giving Gray “a couple days” to respond to the allegations or he, too, would seek his resignation.
But Graham met with Gray on Monday. After the meeting, Graham issued a statement stating, “these difficult times require patience and forbearance.”
“I have confidence in the U.S. Attorney to ferret out the truth in this matter,” Graham said. “I want to wait for further developments before taking any other action.”
Graham noted that Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) has urged his colleagues not to rush to judgment about Gray, noting a mayoral resignation could cripple the District government.
”I agree with Chairman Phil Mendelson that restraint is in order until such time that the United States Attorney actually asserts that the Mayor himself has done something wrong,” Graham said.
But Graham said he reiterated to Gray that he thinks he needs to make a “formal statement on the campaign issues in an appropriate setting with an opportunity for questions.”
Graham said Gray responded by pledging he will confer with his attorney, Robert S. Bennett, about the suggestion.
“I want to give him some time,” Graham said. “We had a forthright discussion.”
But with Graham now backing away from any suggestion that Gray should resign, it appears doubtful that any other council member will soon be joining Cheh, Bowser and Catania in calling for his resignation.