D.C. Wire: Fenty says he won't ask write-in campaign leaders to stop

By Tim Craig
Monday, October 18, 2010; 1:56 PM

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said Monday he will not ask leaders of the "Write Fenty In" campaign - many of whom worked on his primary bid -- to cease their efforts to get voters to write in his name on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.

Fenty said it would be "improper" for him to personally reach out to the leaders of the write-in campaign, even though some of them used to be on his campaign payroll.

"Everyone has the right to do whatever they want to," Fenty said Monday after the opening of the new Georgetown Library. "I have my own personal views and I have expressed them consistently since Sept.14. I believe not only in the Democratic process, I believe Chairman Gray is the best person for the job...It's up to everyone else to decide who they are going to vote for in their own individual capacity."

Fenty sent out a statement Friday reaffirming his support for D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, who defeated Fenty in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary. It was the third time that Fenty has publicly thrown his support behind Gray, who is all but certain to win the general election.

But leaders of Write Fenty In are not relenting in their efforts to drum up for support for the mayor in the general election. Saturday, Josh Lopez, who was Fenty's Ward 4 coordinator in the primary, and several other volunteers went door-to-door in upper Northwest passing out information to residents on how to write in Fenty's name on the general election ballot.

Several of the volunteers were wearing their green Fenty hats from the primary, surprising residents who appeared confused by the visit from the "green team."

"At this point, Fenty is still the better candidate and people want to write him in," Lopez said as he canvassed the wealthy Palisades neighborhood of upper Northwest. "We are confident if we get enough support, (Fenty) will accept the nomination."

Indeed, Lopez and the other members of the green team found several residents who were sympathetic to their efforts.

"Thank you," one Palisades homeowner told Lopez. "I support Fenty and think it's a travesty that he lost to Gray."

Gray, meanwhile, is continuing his efforts to win over residents who didn't vote for him in the primary. Last Wednesday, several Gray supporters held a sign wave near American University in upper Northwest. But Dave Donaldson, Gray's Ward 3 coordinator, tells D.C. Wire the Gray volunteers met a "hostile reaction," perhaps due to the fact news was just breaking that Michelle Rhee was resigning as chancellor of D.C Public Schools.

"I couldn't believe it, there were some very angry people out there," Donaldson said, recalling how one motorist stopped her car and shouted through the window, "You're the reason Michelle Rhee is resigning today."

With Monday being the first day of early voting in the District, the Write Fenty In campaign also has dispatched volunteers to greet voters at the Judiciary Square polling site. Voters will be handed detailed green-and-white "how to vote" fliers stating how to "write in Adrian Fenty."

Lopez said the Write Fenty In campaign also will hand out the fliers at numerous precincts on Election Day.

Still, few expect the write-in campaign to be successful, although it could embarrass Gray on Election Day if enough voters opt to write-in Fenty instead of voting for Gray.

"It's not going anywhere," Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who supported Fenty in the primary but now is campaigning for Gray, said after seeing a copy of the "how to vote" flier.

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