Fenty's Fundraising Continuing Apace

By David Nakamura and Yolanda Woodlee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

D.C. Democratic mayoral nominee Adrian M. Fenty has received $414,000 in contributions in the past three weeks, almost doubling his campaign account to $812,000 for a general election in which he is essentially assured of victory.

Fenty raised more than $2.5 million for the Sept. 7 primary, the most expensive mayoral race in city history. His fundraising has not slowed since then, even though the Ward 4 council member is running for office in a city where three-fourths of voters are Democrats.

Among the donors for Tuesday's election, according to campaign finance figures filed Monday, are business leaders and city officials who once supported Fenty's chief primary opponent, council Chairman Linda W. Cropp (D). Fenty defeated Cropp in a landslide, winning every ward in the city. Even Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who frequently criticized Fenty during the primary, have joined the Fenty juggernaut. Although they did not contribute money, the two officials hosted a major fundraiser two weeks ago that brought in more than $100,000 for Fenty.

The family of Washington Nationals owner Theodore N. Lerner gave a total of $7,250, even though Fenty had been one of the most adamant critics of the financing deal for a new baseball stadium.

On Sunday, Michael Rogers, an executive of MedStar Health, held a fundraiser for Fenty at his home that raised about $60,000, he said. Rogers, a staunch supporter of Cropp's, said he invited about 60 friends and business people from across the region to the $1,000-a-person event.

Rogers said the decision to support Fenty now is based on practical considerations. "He is going to be the next mayor," Rogers said. "All of us have an interest in the new mayor being successful, and this is an expression of our support."

Fenty has even held fundraisers during recent trips to other cities -- New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco -- where he was visiting mayors and examining programs he might emulate here.

Fenty's coffers dwarf those of his general election competitors -- Republican David W. Kranich, who filed an Aug. 10 finance report showing he had raised $7,676.84; and the Statehood Green Party's Chris Otten, who had raised $2,875, according to filings.

Fenty said he still needs to pay campaign staff salaries, buy food and water for poll workers and host a modest victory celebration outside his campaign headquarters on Florida Avenue NW. But he could have a significant amount of money left. Under D.C. law, campaigns can transfer the funds to a political party, a nonprofit organization or a constituent services fund.

The fundraisers are scheduled to continue this week. A large group is holding a Fenty fundraiser Friday called "One Night. One City. Women Unite for Fenty06." Co-organizers include Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.); former mayor Sharon Pratt (D); and Virginia E. Hayes Williams, the mayor's mother, who was a Cropp supporter during the primary. Sponsors of the event are asking for contributions of $51 to $1,000.

Fenty said he is not concerned about people who hope to buy influence with their contribution.

"You guard against that the same way you guard against it in the primary," Fenty said. "You establish a message and a strategy which engages people . . . and lets everyone know this is a grass-roots campaign, which we have done from Day One."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company