Fenty comeback unlikely despite resurfacing

By |
Photo - Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (Getty Images)
Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (Getty Images)
Local,DC,Alan Blinder

Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's self-imposed exile from public life has come to an end, but two key allies say it's unlikely he's on the cusp of a comeback.

Fenty, whom Mayor Vincent Gray ejected from office after a fiercely contested 2010 primary, drew attention Wednesday when he sat for a rare interview, agreeing to talk with a national radio program about Chicago's teachers strike.

He also has emerged recently to discuss his business ventures and lend quiet support to political proteges.

And even though a July poll indicated Gray is politically vulnerable, Fenty doesn't appear ready to transition his resurfacing to a resurgence.

"I had coffee with Adrian about two or three weeks ago, and it was very clear that he has no intention of running for public office," Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, a Fenty ally, said Wednesday. "He's working on his business opportunities."

Terry Lynch, the executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations and a Fenty booster, played down the chances of another Fenty campaign.

"He certainly is 100 percent committed to improving the city," Lynch said. "He's going to build on his legacy, but in a different way."

Fenty didn't respond to an interview request.

If Fenty decided he wanted to re-enter District politics, he'd begin with a solid standing in the polls -- a 57 percent favorable rating, according to a recent Washington Post poll -- and the man who defeated him under intense scrutiny.

Federal authorities have been investigating Gray's campaign since March 2011, and the probe has already netted guilty pleas from three Gray aides. The investigation, which has triggered calls for Gray's resignation, is ongoing.

Lynch said he thought voters longed for the relative quiet of Fenty's tenure, which essentially ended with Gray's 10-point primary victory.

"I think there is a tremendous amount of buyer's remorse," he said.

Gray has resisted questions about whether he'll seek a second term, but Evans, who is exploring a mayoral run himself, said he wasn't sure who'd emerge victorious if a rematch of the 2010 contest were to materialize.

"There are so many emotional dynamics, along with all of the allegations," Evans said. "It's hard to say who would win that, but it'd be an interesting election."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner