WASHINGTON — A day after declaring his candidacy for a second term, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray on Tuesday stuck to the message he honed before entering the race, saying that voters should judge him on his record and his vision for the future and not the federal investigation of his 2010 campaign.
Two of the mayor’s opponents in the April 1 Democratic primary criticized him upon entering the race, saying he has not been forthcoming about corruption in his previous campaign, in which he defeated then-incumbent Adrian Fenty. Four people who worked on the campaign have pleaded guilty to felonies, and the investigation is ongoing.
Gray said his opponents are criticizing him because he has a record of accomplishments to run on. Four D.C. councilmembers — Muriel Bowser, Jack Evans, Vincent Orange and Tommy Wells — are among the field of primary candidates. Wells said Monday that Gray has perpetuated a pay-to-play culture in the city, and Bowser suggested that the mayor was not cooperating fully with the U.S. attorney.
“I think they ought to articulate a vision for the District of Columbia. That is what people want to hear. We have a vision,” Gray said at a news conference about his economic development agenda. “If they’re successful, then they will be in the job.”
Gray said he would not elaborate on the crimes committed by his underlings, two of whom pleaded guilty to helping to orchestrate and spend $653,000 in illicit funds on his behalf. Prosecutors called that effort a “shadow campaign” and said it tainted Gray’s victory. Gray said people would not be satisfied no matter how many questions he answered.
“There’s no end to that. I want to talk about the future of the District of Columbia,” he said.
Gray spoke Tuesday on the top floor of a building under construction that’s part of a mixed-use development in the once-blighted Shaw neighborhood north of downtown. He said his policies have created jobs and spurred development that has transformed neighborhoods.
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