Two cakes and a room full of political supporters weren’t enough to get DC Mayor Vince Gray off the fence on at his birthday party Friday night. Despite a crowd that probably would have become even more fawning, Gray, celebrating his 71st birthday again passed up the opportunity to say if he plans to seek a second term. But he sure was a tease about it.
“If I were to possibly run, is there anybody in this room that would help me?” he said at the end of his speech, prompting a refrain of “Four more years!” from the folks packed into Lost Society, a restaurant and nightclub at 14th and U streets, Northwest. Council member Yvette Alexander, one of only two sitting DC Council members to attend, had already started one chorus urging Gray to run for another turn in office.
As with most of Gray’s speeches in recent months, his remarks wouldn’t have seemed out-of-place on a campaign stump. He talked up his record, especially the number of large-scale construction projects currently underway throughout the District.
There are between 60 and 67 construction cranes filling the city’s skyline right now, Gray said, crediting the figure to “official crane counter” (and deputy mayor) Victor Hoskins. Perhaps it was a jab at mayoral candidate Andy Shallal, who has said in his campaign that DC needs to “stop counting cranes.” Then again, Gray still isn’t running for anything.
“It should be obvious that I’m not making any announcements tonight,” he said. But despite his ongoing coyness, Gray, by his own admission, is running out of time. “I know when January 2 is,” he said, referring to the deadline by which candidates for the April 1 primary must turn in the 2,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.