Vincent Gray to address D.C. Republicans on Halloween

October 29, 2013

Gray’s needling of Hill Democrats might help endear him to the local GOP. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Some people, come Halloween, visit spooky pumpkin patches or elaborate houses of horrors. Democratic Mayor Vincent C. Gray, this year, is planning to visit the Capitol Hill Club, the inner sanctum of the national Republican elite.

The timing is coincidental, but the mayor’s outreach to the GOP is quite purposeful. Gray will be addressing members of the D.C. Republican Party on Thursday evening on his budget autonomy efforts in light of the recent federal government shutdown.

“I only promised him treats, not tricks,” cracked D.C. GOP Chairman Ron Phillips, who invited the mayor to the party’s regular meeting.

Gray is likely to get a warmer-than-usual reception from the red-tinged crowd, considering that the shutdown put the mayor at odds with his own party for a time. In his efforts to get the District budget exempted from the shutdown, he appeared at a news conference with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the Obama administration’s key congressional inquisitor, then proceeded to publicly confront Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on the Capitol steps.

After the District won full-year spending authority in the congressional deal ending the shutdown, Gray has sought to mend whatever intra-Democratic wounds he opened. But his spokesman said he is glad to maintain bipartisan support on this particular issue.

“The mayor’s happy to talk to anyone that will listen,” said Pedro Ribeiro. “We’re happy to have support from any side that will give it to us in this particular battle.”

Bipartisanship has its limits, however: Gray will not be attending the D.C. GOP’s annual Lincoln-Douglass Dinner on Wednesday, where tea party favorite Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) will be delivering the keynote address. (Scott, incidentally, was one of 18 senators to vote against the shutdown-ending deal.)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis | October 29, 2013