Fenty completes triathlon, and Gray hits the church circuit. But they both get to Adams Morgan Day.

Voters in D.C. cast ballots Tuesday in the closely watched Democratic primary race for mayor between Adrian Fenty and Vincent C. Gray.
By Ann E. Marimow and Tim Craig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 13, 2010

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty spent Sunday morning doing a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run, a competitor in the Nation's Triathlon.

His rival in Tuesday's Democratic primary, Vincent C. Gray, visited three predominantly African American churches, pumping up voters with talk of unifying the city and expanding job opportunities for residents.

The contrasting schedules of the two leading candidates for D.C. mayor reflected how they are targeting different groups of voters during the final hours of the campaign. As Gray, chairman of the D.C. Council, reached out to longtime city residents and churchgoers, Fenty wooed newcomers who may not mind a leader who starts his day with a triathlon.

Later in the day, the two candidates crossed paths at Adams Morgan Day before Fenty departed for the premiere of a documentary film featuring Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and then headed to the Washington Redskins game.

On the church circuit, Gray received standing ovations from worshipers, including those who shouted "you're on your way." Although church leaders stopped short of telling congregants to vote for Gray, their preference was clear.

At McKendree-Simms-Brookland United Methodist Church, Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) introduced Gray from the pulpit, where Gray was seated as the "mayor-elect." Dressed in a charcoal pinstripe suit and lavender tie, Gray appeared the confident front-runner despite a raspy voice from back-to-back speaking engagements.

Over in Adams Morgan, Fenty spent more than two hours trying to meet some of the thousands of residents who crammed 18th Street NW for the annual festival. But even here, in what was once considered Fenty country, the mayor discovered some of the enthusiasm that greeted him in past years at the festival had faded.

Mobbed by fans and well-wishers at last year's Adams Morgan Day, there were fewer people this year clamoring for his attention. Still, Fenty kept fighting for the support of every potential voter he could find, stressing to nearly everyone he met that the city now allows for same-day voter registration.

Jason Broehm, 37, of Dupont Circle approached Fenty on 18th Street and told him he was undecided because he doesn't like Attorney General Peter Nickles. Broehm told Fenty he didn't like reading last fall that Nickles had called D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) an "angry woman."

Fenty said Nickles "made a mistake," for which he apologized. The mayor then spent five minutes telling Broehm how Nickles has spent his life advocating for the "low-income and disadvantaged residents." After the mayor walked away, Broehm put on a Fenty sticker.

Throughout the morning, Gray returned to his message of uniting District residents, who polls show are deeply divided along racial lines, with most black voters saying the mayor is out of touch with their concerns. Gray said he was troubled by the difference in how residents view city government and by the District's unemployment rate, which is disproportionately higher in communities east of the Anacostia River, where Gray lives.

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