Some of the District’s largest developers and labor unions have bet with their checkbooks that former D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray will succeed in his political comeback, according to campaign finance reports released Saturday.
Gray outraised Ward 7 D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D) by a margin of more than 50 percent over the past three months and outspent her by an even greater margin.
In all, Gray has pulled ahead of Alexander slightly in the money race, despite beginning his campaign just four months ago and working to overcome perceptions that he won the mayoralty unfairly in 2010 with the help of a $650,000 shadow campaign waged on his behalf.
A federal investigation into that campaign loomed large over Gray’s mayoral reelection bid, which he lost in 2014. Prosecutors in December said they would not seek charges against Gray, and he soon launched a campaign to reclaim the Ward 7 seat, the first elected office he held in the city. Gray has denied knowledge of the shadow campaign.
Gray’s fundraising, however, remains a fraction of the near million-dollar campaign he waged for the mayoralty. Since early March, he has raised about $107,000, compared with Alexander’s $70,000. Gray has spent $131,000 to Alexander’s $89,000.
The former mayor’s fundraising was lifted by several contributions tied to firms Abdo Development, Akridge and Douglas Development, none of which have contributed to Alexander. Gray also received money from unions for nurses, construction workers and public employees — of which many members received benefit and pay increases under Gray administration policies.
Alexander, who has been endorsed by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), received money from developers who have supported the current mayor and from Corbett Price, who was recently chosen by the city to turn around United Medical Center, which serves Ward 7. Notably, however, Bowser has not contributed any of her own money to Alexander, as she did in $500 checks for her successor in Ward 4, Council member Brandon T. Todd (D), and for Council member LaRuby May (Ward 8).
In the Ward 8 race to fill the first full term since the death of Marion Barry, May’s report had not been made public as of late Saturday morning. (Friday at midnight was the deadline for candidates to file).
But the disclosure by May’s challenger, a former member of the board of education and Barry protege, made clear that May retained a commanding money lead. Trayon White, who came within 100 votes of May last year in a crowded field of candidates for the seat, reported raising more than $19,000, bringing his total campaign fundraising to about $31,000 and leaving him with just under $8,000 for the final week of the campaign, in a race for which candidates’ get-out-the-vote efforts could be critical in an expected tight rematch.
Although May’s report had not yet posted, three months ago she reported having raised more than $184,000 to White’s $12,000 at that point.
That follows the pattern of last year’s race, during which May, a former Ward 8 organizer for Bowser, drew contributions from developers, health-care companies and others from across the region who had contributed to Bowser’s campaign.
Last year, May spent $278,000 to White’s $25,000.
In Ward 4, Bowser’s hand-picked successor and former campaign fundraising chief has a similar juggernaut.
Todd reported raising $125,000 in the most recent reporting period, bringing his total fundraising to more than $358,000. Todd spent $265,000 in the past three months and has more than $87,000 for the last week of the campaign.
By comparison, Leon Andrews, who lent his campaign $140,000 early in the year to mount a challenge, reported raising far less. Andrews raised $25,000, continuing to spend most of his own money. Andrews reported $47,000 on hand.
In the contested at-large race, Robert White outraised incumbent Vincent B. Orange (D) over the past three months, but remained behind him overall in money spent and cash on hand.
White collected more than $96,000, bringing his campaign total to $187,000. White spent $138,000 in the most recent period and has $26,000 on hand.
Orange reported raising $61,000, bringing his total over the campaign to $282,000. Orange has spent more than $180,000 in the past three months and has about twice as much remaining as White: $49,000.
Another candidate in that race, David Garber, raised $26,000 and had spent nearly all of it, with less than $4,000 remaining.