News & Politics

DC Mayor Gray Says He’ll Make a Decision on His Reelection Bid in “the Next Few Weeks”

He says if he runs, he’ll run on his record.

It’s been a busy, challenging week for DC Mayor
Vincent Gray, and a highly visible one as well, in which he’s been viewed as asserting himself
on the matter of the federal government shutdown. First, he declared DC government
workers “essential” so that the city would keep operating. To fund staying open he
made the decision to use money from the city’s contingency cash reserves, money that
is not under federal control. He would have preferred to use the more than $6 billion
that comes from taxes on property, income, and sales, but that money is under federal
control and, according to him, being held “hostage” by Congress.

What is being spent out of the reserve fund to run the city per day? Gray said, “Our
budget is $10.1 billion a year. So divide 365 into that, and that’s what we’re using
of the reserve fund.” We did the math, and it comes to about $27.6 million per day.

All of this comes at a time when challengers are picking up their pace for next year’s
mayoral election. Like the national question about whether former secretary of state
Hillary Clinton will run for president, in DC the question is: What will Vince Gray

On Thursday, in a phone conversation with
Washingtonian, he said, “Over the next few weeks I have to decide.” There’s a deadline for picking
up petitions and another deadline for filing. Whatever he decides—and he sounded very
much like a politician who has decided—he says “this job is the best campaign you
can run. People can evaluate your capacity to lead. These other guys can go do what
they’ve got to do, but I’ve got a record, a track record, and I feel very comfortable
standing on my track record.”

Does he care whether he gets into the race late? “No matter when I get in, that’s
what they are going to evaluate me on: my record.” Does he think voters will care
about the campaign fraud issue that has dogged him since his election? He said what
he’s said before: “You have to ask the voters.” We wondered whether he’d done any
polling. He said, “No, I have not, but there have been polls done by others, and I
was ahead.”