Theodis R. (Ted) Gay, former D.C. Democratic State Committee chairman, has decided he will not challenge D.C. City Council member Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) in her expected reelection bid this year.

Gay, owner of Capitol Hill Art & Frame, had been saying since last fall that he was seriously considering running for the council against Winter. Some political activists had said that Gay was probably the strongest potential opponent to Winter, but recently several had speculated that it was getting too late for him to begin a serious challenge in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary.

Gay said in an interview that he had decided against running after taking a poll that showed Winter had gained politically from her recent vocal opposition to a plan by Mayor Marion Barry to transfer some D.C. jail inmates to the former 9th Police Precinct building as part of attempts to deal with jail crowding.

"She has managed to improve her unfavorable rating. [Her protest] gave her good, positive publicity," Gay said.

"The time and the financial resources it would take [to run a successful campaign] are far greater than I at this time have," he added.

Winter has been organizing and raising funds for some time and said she plans to make her reelection announcement on May 31. She has represented Ward 6 on the council since the first home rule council was elected in 1974.

Gay said he would wait to see who gets into the race before deciding whether to endorse someone else.

Bernard A. Gray Sr., a lawyer who lives and works in Anacostia, has indicated his intention to run against Winter.