wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost2

Most Read: Local

D.C. Wire
About this Blog & the Writers |  On Twitter  On Twitter  |  RSS RSS Feed
Posted at 01:44 PM ET, 08/18/2009

Ray Ready to Make It Official in Council Race

Clark E. Ray, the former director of Parks and Recreation, is done exploring, and is ready to jump into next year's race for the Democratic nomination for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Ray launched his exploratory campaign in early May, a few weeks after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) replaced him at Parks and Recreation. Fenty's decision angered the city's gay community because Ray was the only openly gay member of the cabinet.

Peter Rosenstein, a longtime gay rights activists who headed Ray's exploratory effort, issued a statement today saying the candidate will officially enter the race Sept. 12. Ray will likely face Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) in the primary. Mendelson has held the seat since 1999.

"I have been traveling throughout the District and met with thousands of people who have told me they support me and want me to run," Ray told his supporters, according to the statement. "They have convinced me that not only can we win this race with their help, but that this is the way I can best continue to serve all the people of the District."

In making the announcement, Rosenstein took several shots at Mendelson. He said Ray will "push forward with EDUCATION REFORM" and that voters "support Ray in his belief that we need to be TOUGH ON CRIME."

Mendelson has been skeptical of some of Fenty's school reform and crime-fighting efforts. But Mendelson has proven himself to be a surprisingly resilient opponent. Despite being the perceived underdog, Mendelson defeated attorney A. Scott Bolden by 64 to 36 percent in the 2006 Democratic primary.

Mendelson has been skeptical of some of Fenty's school reform and crime-fighting efforts. But Mendelson has proven himself to be a surprisingly resilient opponent. Despite being the perceived underdog, Mendelson defeated attorney A. Scott Bolden by 64 to 36 percent in the 2006 Democratic primary.

"Elections for incumbents are about reapplying for the job, and I welcome the opportunity," said Mendelson, who has already raised twice as money as he had at this stage of his 2006 reelection campaign.

Mendelson also directly responded to the Ray supporters' veiled attacks about his record on education and crime.

"I have a daughter in public schools and care deeply about seeing our schools improve," Mendelson said. "It if becomes an issue in this campaign, the issue will be about what's the best way to achieve that."

Mendelson, the chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary who helped derail Fenty's controversial gang initiative this year, added "crime lends itself to grandstanding."

By  |  01:44 PM ET, 08/18/2009

Categories:  Tim Craig, Tim Craig

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company