Mayoral race hits TV broadcasts: Police union hits Gray; Bowser touts ‘trust’

Updated 2:15 p.m. with Bowser ad

The race for the Democratic mayoral nomination is starting to hit the television airwaves, or the television cables, anyway. A new commercial on Comcast cable from the Fraternal Order of Police is taking aim at Mayor Vincent C. Gray, while a new spot from candidate Muriel Bowser says she’ll be a “mayor you can trust.”

The police spot features Officer Collette Clemencia, who has been on the force since 1988 and is identified as a “lifelong” D.C. resident, highlighting some unflattering excerpts of the Gray record — including rising violent crime in some parts of the city, the stalled redevelopment of the Lincoln Heights housing project, and the dysfunction in the Fire and Emergency Medical Services department.

The TV ads are being accompanied by a series of mailers highlighting some of the same issues including a tagline that twists Gray’s campaign slogan: “One City? More like worlds apart.”

Not mentioned in any of them: Other mailers promote D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the candidate that the union endorsed. (Wells unveiled some cable ads of his own last month.)

Meanwhile, Gray’s campaign is taking aim at his emerging top competitor — D.C. Council member Bowser (D-Ward 4) — with a Web page (MurielNotReady.com) and YouTube video portraying Bowser as not ready for the challenges of the mayoralty.

The ad includes a clip of Bowser in a recent debate saying she’s hired “three or four people” for her council office. “The average McDonald’s has 50 employees,” it reads. “The District government has over 33,000 employees.”

And on Monday, Bowser unveiled a television spot of her own, though it is unclear where and when it will air. A YouTube clip of the ad — “Vote Muriel Bowser; I’ll be a mayor you can trust” — was included in a fundraising appeal to supporters saying the campaign needs to “expand the media budget for Muriel’s ad.”

While the fundraising letter indicates the campaign needs to raise an additional $1,500 or so, campaign manager Bo Shuff said Monday that the Bowser camp has already secured airtime on network and cable TV for the ad.

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 24