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Gray dismisses poll showing support for resignation

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

Pushing back against a poll that revealed most District residents want him to resign, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said Thursday that details about illegal activity in his 2010 campaign are clouding his record of achievement.

"It's obviously colored by all of this other stuff associated with the campaign," Gray said of his 18-month tenure. "In many instances, the facts are different than some of those perceptions."

Just more than a week after federal prosecutors said an illegal shadow campaign helped elect Gray, a poll released late Wednesday showed 54 percent of residents -- including 48 percent of black voters, an integral part of Gray's political base -- want him to exit the public stage. The Washington Post commissioned the poll of adults, which had a margin of error of 4 percent.

Gray, who has declined to comment on the probe, asked for patience.

"I haven't been charged with anything. I haven't been convicted of anything," Gray said. "I would urge people -- and strongly ask them -- to allow this whole process to play out."

Gray's personal lawyer, Robert Bennett, also went on the offensive.

"Mayor Gray is being treated very unfairly by some in the media and those with their own political agendas," Bennett said in a written statement. "They are not focusing on the very good things he has done for our city."

Gray and his aides have regularly pointed to the District's vital signs as indicators the city is performing well despite the sweeping probe. The unemployment and homicide rates, they note, have fallen during Gray's watch, and the city's savings account has a balance of more than $1 billion.

And although Gray has sought to refocus the District's political narrative by drawing a distinction between his campaign and his administration, the poll shows most voters aren't buying his argument.

On three issues -- job creation and improvement of city services and public schools -- more residents than not

said Gray had done a "not so good" or "poor" job. Gray enjoyed broader support on just one topic polled: attracting new businesses to the city.

Gray has resisted demands from three members of the D.C. Council that he resign, but he declined to say Thursday whether he has decided to run for re-election in 2014.

"I'm thinking about my job every day," said Gray, whose approval rating stands at 29 percent, the lowest of any mayor since Marion Barry's support dipped to 28 percent in 1989.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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