Marion Barry will formally endorse Vincent Gray

Four-term mayor and current D.C. Council member Marion Barry will formally endorse Mayor Vincent C. Gray for reelection Wednesday, days after Barry gave his first interviews in support of the embattled mayor and stumped for him in his home Ward 8.

While the endorsement comes as little surprise, Barry had kept his mayoral preferences to himself until relatively recently, as Gray’s foes — particularly council colleague Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) — had sought to woo him to their own camps. Barry’s nod comes four years after he vigorously campaigned on Gray’s behalf, though there never was a formal endorsement ceremony. Since then, Gray and Barry have occasionally tangled but have maintained a cordial relationship as Gray seeks to rack up big margins among Barry loyalists.

News of the endorsement was first tweeted Tuesday by WUSA-TV reporter Bruce Johnson, and the Gray campaign shortly afterward issued an embargoed advisory listing details of the event. Post reporter Paul Schwartzman inadvertently tweeted about the advisory, prompting Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies to publicly accuse Schwartzman of “shoddy reporting” and brag about ending a phone call between them with explicit language. Schwartzman apologized, and The Post has independently confirmed the impending Barry endorsement with a person familiar with the mayor’s plans.

LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for Barry, said he intends to announce his mayoral endorsement at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church, a congregation near the Anacostia Metro that is led by a close ally of Barry and Gray. Its pastor, Matthew Hudson, delivered the invocation at Gray’s State of the District address last week and chairs the board of United Medical Center, the city-owned hospital in Ward 8.

Barry, 78, recently left an inpatient physical rehabilitation center, wrapping up two lengthy stays in medical facilities. He continues to undergo physical therapy and has yet to fully return to his duties as council member.

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 · March 18