The former mayor of Washington, D.C., retook his old seat on the D.C. Council Tuesday, replacing an ally of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s and completing his political comeback.
Vincent Gray, who previously held the seat in the District’s Ward 7 before he became mayor, was elected back to his old post by a wide margin. The main campaign battle took place in the Democratic primaries for the Council in June, when Gray roundly defeated incumbent Bowser ally Yvette Alexander.
Gray lost his mayoral reelection bid to Bowser in 2014 after prosecutors discovered his campaign violated the law and ran an all cash “shadow campaign” to win him the seat in 2010, reports WUSA9.
Gray promises to be a major thorn in the side of Bowser as she attempts to push forward with policy in the second half of her term. He may even challenge Bowser when she runs for reelection.
“Every day people plead with me to run for mayor against Bowser,” Gray told NBC4 in October. “I won’t rule it out.”
Gray’s 2010 campaign imploded a week before early voting in the Democratic primary after prosecutors revealed an influential supporter and staff were running an all-cash operation or “shadow campaign” to aid his reelection. This allegedly included $10,000 given to the president of the Washington Teacher’s Union to sway support towards Gray.
Jeffrey Thompson, the architect of the shadow campaign, is currently serving a three-month prison sentence after prosecutors convicted him in September of using roughly $800,000 in unreported campaign contributions to fund the scheme. Thompson claimed in court last year that Gray knew all about the “shadow campaign,” actively budgeting out the best way to spend the funds.
Thompson, who Gray admitted calling by his alias “Uncle Earl,” also claims he funneled $40,000 to a close friend of Gray’s for home improvements. Gray vehemently denies the accusations and has never been legally implicated in the scheme.
Questions still linger regarding Gray’s role in the 2010 shadow campaign. The Washington Post editorial board wrote April 17 the situation remains mystifying, questioning Gray’s role as well as the credibility of Thompson, simply pointing out more questions than answers remain.
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