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Posted at 02:43 PM ET, 09/15/2010

Gray fundraiser could play key role after November

Reuben O. Charles II, 40, a wealthy venture capitalist, could play a key role in a Vincent C. Gray administration, perhaps even becoming his chief of staff, according to people familiar with the campaign.

Gray, the D.C. Council chairman, said Wednesday that he will not be making any personnel decisions until after the Nov. 2 general election.

But Charles, who lives in Wesley Heights and is a newcomer to D.C. politics, emerged as one of the key figures in Gray's victory over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Tuesday.

Charles helped oversee Gray's effort to raise more than $2 million for his campaign, almost twice as much as most people thought the chairman could raise when he entered the race in March.

Charles oversaw a group of bundlers, many with ties to African and Caribbean communities, who reached out to hundreds of donors who haven't traditionally given to local political candidates.

"The most surprising thing to the campaign was the unusual suspects that emerged to help," said Charles, adding that he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the East Indian, Caribbean and Nigerian communities. "We pulled together a heck of an operation and it's been a machine."

Charles only met Gray in March, after he helped organize one of his initial fundraisers. But Gray and Charles, a native of Guyana who moved to the District three years ago after starting his career in the Midwest, quickly become close during the campaign.

"We had never met, but I paid attention from afar and I always though he was incredibly thoughtful," Charles said.

When asked about speculation that he may give up his well-paying career to join the administration, Charles said he is not "vying for anything." But he added, "Vince and I realized very early in this process that we would love to build a long-lasting relationship."

"If you would have asked me this question three years ago, I would have laughed you out of the room," Charles said when asked whether he would join the administration. "But I would contemplate very seriously if such an offer was raised. ... I generally like working with him and I think he feels the same way."

By  |  02:43 PM ET, 09/15/2010

Categories:  2010 District Election, 2010 District Election, 2010 District Election, 2010 District Election

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