Mayor Marion Barry said yesterday he had won the support of 41 former Carter administration officials, including Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, in his effort to win re-election over challengers including their former colleague, Patricia Roberts Harris.
Luther O. Hodges, chairman of the board of the National Bank of Washington and former deputy secretary of commerce under Carter, gave the endorsement speech and said Barry distinguishes himself from Harris because he has experience as mayor of a big city.
Barry joked about the absence of Young and one other former Carter Cabinet official at the endorsement ceremony yesterday. "Andy Young can't be here because he is working as hard for his city as I am for mine," he said. "Another can't be here with us today because she is running for my job."
He said the endorsements were not meant to imply criticism of Harris, but were a "positive statement of support for the best candidate."
Harris responded to the endorsements by saying she had more support than Barry from senior Carter officials.
"Given the fact we did so well in the Carter administration in appointing Democrats and particularly black Democrats, it would be hard for anyone to have a campaign without Carter administration support," said Harris, who was secretary of the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development under Carter.
"But I'm the only candidate who has Jimmy Carter's endorsement. . . I have three Cabinet members giving and raising money for me, William Miller, the secretary of the treasury, Lloyd Cutler, and Bob Bergland, who was at Agriculture. Louie Martin, Stuart Eizenstat, Jerry Rafshoon, Jody Powell, they are all supporting me. . . I have support going back to the Roosevelt administration."
Fourteen of the former Carter officials whose names appear on the list of Barry supporters made public by the Barry campaign yesterday stood behind Hodges as he spoke in a conference room at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel on New Hampshire Avenue.
"He (Barry) has grown with the job and added immeasurably to the city," said Hodges, who is head of Barry's downtown committee, a group planning how to redevelop the downtown shopping area. "He alone among the candidates has experience running municipal government.He alone has demonstrated that he can do the job. We believe that he deserves another term as mayor and the city deserves another four years with Marion Barry in city hall."
Among the 13 appointees with Hodges were Ernest Green, the assistant secretary for employment and training in the Labor Department under Carter; Charles Atkins, former associate assistant to Carter; Chester Davenport, former assistant secretary in the Department of Transportation; Raul Tapia, former deputy assistant to the president for Hispanic affairs and A. Vernon Weaver, former head of the Small Business Administration.
On the list of Carter officials Barry claims are supporting him are Eleanor Holmes Norton, former chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Ambassador Abelardo L. Valdez, former chief of protocol; Azie Taylor-Morton, former United States treasurer; Albert Raby, former director of the Peace Corps, and Gretchen Poston, former social secretary.
Young was not available for comment yesterday.