March 7, 2014 at 8:32 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gray wins vote but falls short of Stein Club endorsement
Tommy Wells, Vincent Orange, Vincent Gray, Jack Evans, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, endorsement forum, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray finished ahead of four rivals at the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club’s mayoral candidates forum. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray finished far ahead of four of his rivals at the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club’s mayoral candidates forum Thursday night but fell four votes short of the 60 percent threshold needed to win the club’s endorsement.

Gray beat D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), his closest rival, by a margin of 58 percent (112 votes) to 38 percent (74 votes) in a runoff ballot, with 4 percent voting for no endorsement.

“I am so happy about the number of people that came out and supported us tonight,” Gray said after the vote. “It really is an affirmation of our record and we’ll continue to do the things that got us here tonight.”

In a first ballot vote, Gray came in first with 115 votes, ahead of Evans, who received 56 votes. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) came in third with 28 votes, just ahead of Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who captured 26 votes. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) finished fifth with 8 votes. One person voted for no endorsement.

Under club rules, members have the option of holding a run-off vote between the top two vote getters in the first vote if no one obtains the 60 percent margin needed for an endorsement.

Paul Strauss, Pete Ross, U.S. Senate, District of Columbia, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, endorsement forum, gay news, Washington Blade

Paul Strauss (left) and Pete Ross at the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club’s endorsement forum. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

In a separate endorsement vote on the contest for the city’s shadow U.S. Senate seat, challenger Pete Ross beat incumbent Paul Strauss by a vote of 93 to 85, with 33 people voting for no endorsement. Similar to the mayoral race, Ross failed to win the endorsement by falling 33 votes short of the 60 percent threshold needed for an endorsement.

Meanwhile, in a development that surprised some Stein Club members, mayoral contenders Andy Shallal and Carlos Allen were disqualified from participating in the forum because they didn’t return a candidate questionnaire that the club requires as a condition for being eligible for an endorsement. The two didn’t attend the event.

Democratic mayoral contender Reta Lewis returned the questionnaire but no one placed her name in nomination at Thursday night’s forum as part of another requirement for endorsement eligibility, according to Martin Garcia, the club’s vice president for political and governmental affairs. Garcia said Lewis also didn’t attend the event.

About 300 people, including D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), turned out to watch the forum, which was held at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington at 474 Ridge St., N.W.

Mendelson and Bonds are running for re-election. Last week the Stein Club endorsed Mendelson but didn’t endorse in the at-large race in which Bonds and three other candidates are running in the April 1 Democratic primary because no one received the required 60 percent of the vote from the club’s membership.

Voting at Thursday’s endorsement forum took place after the participating candidates gave opening remarks and answered questions from the audience, which were submitted on index cards and read by Stein Club member Earl Fowlkes, who served as moderator.

Each expressed strong support for LGBT rights and each has a record of support for LGBT-related issues since the time they won election to the Council, with some, including Gray, pointing to their support for LGBT equality in previous jobs in government or in the private sector.

Evans, who has been on the Council for 23 years, brought with him a stack of 32 LGBT-related bills he said he introduced and helped pass during his tenure on the Council.

“I was the first elected official to support marriage equality at a time when no one was there,” he said.

Gray cited the LGBT-related initiatives he has put into effect since becoming mayor, including a first-of-its-kind transgender job training program. His LGBT supporters, who turned out in large numbers at the forum, have called him the nation’s strongest LGBT-supportive mayor.

“I’m proud to have stood up for what is right in the District of Columbia on behalf of the people who are LGBTQ in the District of Columbia,” he said. “I am proud to have led the fight on the Council of the District of Columbia to be able to approve marriage equality,” he said, referring to his role as chair of the Council in 2009 when the marriage bill came up.

Wells acknowledged that Evans, in his long tenure on the Council, and Gray, in his many LGBT-related initiatives as mayor, have done a lot for the LGBT community. Noting that his record and commitment to LGBT issues is also strong, he suggested that LGBT voters should consider turning their attention to issues such as ethics in government, that impact everyone.

“I am so proud of what we’ve done together to make this a fairer, just city for everyone,” Wells said. “Let me say that everyone on the dais has been part of that,” he said. “Your fight is my fight.”

Bowser said she is proud to have won the club’s endorsement in the past when running for her Ward 4 Council seat.

“I think Tommy is right,” she said. “There have been a lot of people who have worked long and hard so that all the institutions of the District of Columbia are equal.  Because of their hard work we’re talking about marriage equality tonight.”

Bowser, among other things, cited her role as co-introducer of a bill approved by the Council earlier this year calling for services for LGBT homeless youth.

Orange pointed to his role as a committee chair to help push through a bill introduced by gay D.C. Council member Jim Graham to add protections for transgender people in the city’s Human Rights Act.

In keeping with the club’s longstanding format for endorsement forums, the candidates were asked to leave the main hall where the event took place at the conclusion of the forum to give club members a chance to speak among themselves on who they support for the endorsement.

Among those speaking on behalf of Bowser was her gay brother, Marvin Bowser.

“Muriel has been up front in support of all of the LGBTQ issues in her campaign, including marriage equality, the anti-bullying law, and the homeless youth bill,” he said. “She’s about supporting the diversity and the vitality of the city,” he said. “She’s fully engaged in all the issues important to that.”

Martin Garcia, Angela Peoples, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, endorsement forum, gay news, Washington Blade

Stein Club Vice President for Legislative and Political Affairs Martin Garcia (left) and President Angela Peoples. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Stein Club President Angela Peoples said that while she’s disappointed that the club was unable to make an endorsement in the mayor’s race, along with the shadow Senate seat and several Council races, the endorsement forum has been beneficial to LGBT voters.

“I’m really proud and humbled and excited to see so much energy from the entire LGBT community,” she said. “The turnout at this event really shows that our LGBT community is diverse. We have straight allies. We have transgender leadership in our organization. We have people who have been here for a long time and also people who are new and excited.”

Peoples said the strong support that all of the candidates have expressed for LGBT equality was a testament to the strength of the LGBT community.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • the artist formerly known as brian

    Good. Unethical conduct and anti-LGBT police coverups should NOT be rewarded– especially by Democrats.

    Gray’s police department (MPD) is covering up the status of anti-LGBT hate crimes cases– hiding them from victims AND the people in neighborhoods where the crimes occurred– all of whom deserve to know whether those cases are SOLVED or are UNSOLVED. A simple ONLINE LOOKUP will accomplish that.

    Crime victims deserve to know, so they can act to protect themselves and their friends or loved ones– or so they may simply rest easier because a perpetrator was arrested.

    And Gray’s criminal campaign in 2010 continues to embarrass our cause…

    (WaPo, 3/6/14)
    Jeffrey E. Thompson in plea talks with prosecutors about Mayor Gray’s alleged D.C. shadow campaign

    “For nearly three years, federal prosecutors have been methodically building a case against Thompson, who is identified by associates as secretly financing a more than $650,000 off-the-books “shadow campaign” on Gray’s behalf. Seven people connected to Thompson or affiliated with Gray’s 2010 campaign have pleaded guilty in federal court in the past two years and have outlined Thompson’s alleged efforts to subvert local and federal campaign finance laws.”

    • Could you please go back to troll land or at least use your real name so people understand what your motivation is in all of this hate you are spewing? Vince Gray won 58% of the Stein Club vote because of his lifetime of fierce support of the LGBT community. He has been present and accessible to our community throughout his time in office and before.

      This US Attorney will hopefully put Jeff Thompson in jail for his illegal scheme to influence a guy that would never have agreed to such a scheme. And then, I hope that the US Attorney will end this investigation. If he had anything to indict the mayor, it would have happened already. And if Jeff Thompson had anything to implicate the mayor, then he wouldn’t have to negotiate very hard to get a misdemeanor charge.

  • the artist formerly known as brian

    “He has been present and accessible to our community throughout his time in office and before.”
    Nope. It’s all TRUTH, Lane. I quoted WaPo verbatim. SEVEN people have pleaded guilty. That is SO FAR. And that is FACT.

    At the very least, it appears Vince Gray is a really, really bad judge of characters for his campaigns, huh?

    And we’ve seen that just this past month in the hurky-jerky, excuse-making management of MPD’s district offices. When MPD’s District Commanders get too popular with the people they’re sworn to serve and protect, our insecure police chiefs have to axe them. What kind of enlightened police management is that?

    BTW, don’t you think LGBTs deserve a higher standard of performance from their mayor than just being “PRESENT and ACCESSIBLE”??? Seriously, when did we time-warp back to the 80s?

    However, if anyone knows anything about HATE, that would be MPD’s real boss, Vince Gray. Gray doesn’t give a hoot about LGBT VICTIMS of hate, nor their’s and their neighbors’ rights to know whether hate crimes cases have been closed with an arrest or not.

    However, Gray DOES care about COVERING UP the crime case results of all that violent hate.

    It is also a FACT, Lane, that Gray, and his now-politiciized police department, are HIDING the anti-LGBT hate crimes open/closed stats from victims and neighborhoods they occurred in.

    Why? So Gray won’t be embarrassed by his MPD’s failures to find and arrest hate crimes perpetrators.

    In Gray’s cynical, calculating political world, his motto must be…
    “What the victims don’t know can’t hurt me.”

    Hell, Gray is STILL running a deceptive SHADOW CAMPAIGN. Gray pretends to be pro-LGBT, but he’s hired Ward 5’s Bob King, who less than 4 years ago was only too happy to take NOM money to run a REAL HATE direct mail campaign against gay couples and their families throughout DC.

    Then, LESS THAN A MONTH AGO– after again decimating GLLU’s core unit (see Blade’s report last month)– Gray’s now-Police Chief of Politics used an annual awards ceremony, meant for city-wide POLICE and CITIZEN awardees, to reward some of the city’s most virulent anti-gay and/or anti-Marriage Equality opponents in Ward 5.

    All THREE are sitting DC Officials, ANC Commissioners. Incredibly, two of them are running to oust our LGBT-right champion Kenyan McDuffie in Ward 5, for pete sake. Lanier knew all of this. She’s a close neighbor of Bob King and Ward 5 is Lanier’s ‘home ward’..

    You don’t see Gray’s hypocrisy in that misuse of an awards ceremony to tacitly reward politician’s homophobia and transphobia in ONE WARD with a growing LGBT influx?

    One of said Commissioner’s demonizing “homophobic comments”– made when she was an OFFICIAL of MPD’s CAC in MPD-5D– was so virulent that even Lanier had to publicly denounce and distance MPD from the homophobia and bigotry she expressed. Now, just over 3 years later, Gray’s chief awards a DC political official the Chief of Police Special Award.

    You attack me to cloud the facts arrayed against your candidate. But I’m just a citizen activist who cares about hate crimes and LGBT public safety and policing issues.

    Lane, the *CURRENT FACTS* show that Gray’s CULTURE OF CORRUPTION and deception has never really stopped. Many of Gray’s top people don’t give a whit for the appearance of unethical police conduct, cronyism and corruption their actions routinely exhibit.

    Why should any DEMOCRAT be proud of that? We should all thank CMs Evans, Wells, Bowser and Orange for getting into the arena — and for at least offering us something more noble.

    • Who are you and who are you supporting?

      • the artist formerly known as brian

        (1) Just a LGBT former Gray supporter shocked at the level of police corruption, anti-LGBT hypocrisy and real public safety risk that Vince Gray has brought to our city. (I’m sure as a fellow Democrat you appreciate that private citizens ought to be able to robustly participate in our electoral process– eh?)

        (2) Wells, Evans, Bowser, Orange and Catania are all far more qualified than Gray to be mayor. But I have not decided yet which to vote for among those.

        Now, two questions for you, Lane, please…

        (1) SEVEN operatives from Gray’s ‘shadow campaign’ have already pled guilty to criminal violations. How did a seemingly smart management guy like Gray ever hire those seven– as well as Sulaimon Brown?

        (2) Why on Earth did Gray’s police chief, just last month, give prestigious citywide police awards to THREE proven anti-LGBT political officials– all from the police chief’s home ward– Ward 5?

  • BRIAN, your repetitive rhetoric is BORING. you are like the FOX news channel. just substiute Mayor Gray for Obama. Lanier for Clinton. you are a bonafide propoganda MACHINE spewing out hateful nonsense. only the FOX newscasters have the courage to attach their faces and names to their spiteful stupidity. your cowardice separates you from them. not much of a consolation. seriously, is your last name Brown?

  • the artist formerly known as brian

    Jeri, I understand you can’t refute Gray’s culture of corruption and police bullying. Facts is facts after all.

    But are you seriously comparing Gray to Barack Obama and Cathy Lanier to HillaryClinton? Whoever you are getting your marching orders from must have a really delusional imagination.

    Two more facts for you, Jeri…

    (1) President Obama never had ANYONE– let alone SEVEN campaign operatives– plead guilty to involvement in a $650,000 SHADOW CAMPAIGN.

    (2) Hillary Clinton never presented a “Citizen of the Year” police award to a homophobic politician running for Council– as Lanier did just a few weeks ago. Look it up. Carolyn Steptoe has a 2014 GLAA candidate rating of MINUS 2! That’s the LOWEST score available, isn’t it?

  • Brian hate this Man all you want. The sad realization is as many Caucasians have moved to DC ala Gentrification. It’s not they moved to blend and love their fellow African American citizens in fact many DONT. And they want a Caucasian Mayor to the dismay of African American citizens for all the wrong reasons. Catania, Evans and Wells may be good for DC. But just like the special election where Anita Bonds won many Caucasians voted for the others and most African Americans voted for Anita. There is sad distrust in this city but regardless of how you may feel Gray is getting re-elected. Keeping Lanier is another issue.

  • BRIAN, i am not going to follow your path, or Fox News, by pointing out all the baseless allegations that have been attached to the POTUS or Ms. Clinton.

    campaign operatives are just that – operatives. no wrong doing has been attached to the Mayor. all you are doing is supplying innuendo and fueling a fire to defame a man who has done nothing wrong, except that he supports equality. nice work. you should be very proud of yourself.

    GLAA rated Carolyn Steptoe according to her responses and record. Chief Lanier has worked with GLAA and others to address any and all issues that affect our community. She maintains open communication with all community activists, and actively addresses any concerns. She fights discrimination in the MPD. She is an ally, so naturally she is worthy of your derisive comments.

    you are a despicable coward, BRIAN. your comments are not worth a reply. I really should not have bothered. Please crawl back under your rock and stay there, at least until you can grow the courage to attach a whole name to your defamatory statements.

  • 58% of the vote…the Community definitely supports Mayor Gray! *** GRAY 2014 ***

  • the artist formerly known as brian

    “campaign operatives are just that – operatives. no wrong doing has been attached to the Mayor”
    Holy cow! Listen to yourself, Jeri.

    They Haven’t ‘Attached’ Gray To
    His Campaign ‘Operatives’ Yet!

    How’s that for a Gray bumper sticker?

    That’s the kind of high standard of ethical conduct we need to make sure DCPS gets across to kids in DC’s schools, huh?

    “She [Chief Lanier] maintains open communication with all community activists, and actively addresses any concerns.” –Jeri

    You are simply uniformed on a lot of LGBT-related police issues, Jeri. That’s just flatly false. And you should stop spreading such falsehoods– and giving DC LGBT residents and their friends a false sense of security.

    To guard their OWN personal safety, LGBTQ residents and visitors should know this stuff– that is without your name-calling and sloganeering hiding the truth of Gray’s anti-LGBT/biased policing from them.

    MPD’s Fifth District (‘5D’)– Chief Lanier’s ‘home police district’ in Ward 5– has been a hotbed of anti-LGBT bias and discrimination for many years. That MPD anti-LGBT bias even extends– to this very day– to MPD’s 5D-CAC (Citizens Advisory Council).

    While Vince Gray was in his 2010 “Shadow Campaign” Chief Lanier had to disavow and denounce the personal “homophobic comments” of a MPD 5D-CAC official. The multiple comments of that MPD-5D CAC official were very homophobic, bigoted and demonizing of gay married couples. Lanier promised too undertake reform measures to at MPD CACs, and that they would be announced. But no such actions were ever announced by MPD.

    Just another promise against anti-LGBT police bias made by Gray’s chief which was broken by Gray’s chief.

    BUT just a FEW WEEKS AGO, Gray’s chief of police awarded that same, now-former 5D-CAC official and current DC ANC Commissioner MPD’s *Chief of Police Special Award*. So Gray and Lanier sent a strong message of homophobic bias to MPD’s rank and file police officers by bestowing that award to an unrepentant anti-gay politician.

    In another incident, Chief Lanier even felt obliged to personally apologize to me for the tortious conduct her MPD “operatives” directed against me on 5D’s listserv just a few years ago. Lanier promised me in an email– also copied to members of COUNCIL– MPD would try to do better. But in fact, MPD-5D (including its CAC) has remained as homophobic/ transphobic and discriminatory as it ever was.

    New 5D Cmdr. Dierdre Porter will have to address the ongoing bias and anti-LGBT within her new MPD-5D command (including its discriminatory 5D CAC)– hopefully as soon as possible.

    Gray’s police chiefs (and MPD-HQ) are fairly known for NOT responding to LGBT critics who email them concerns– unless the mayor –AND– members of Council (and sometimes reporters) are copied or blind copied in emails.

    When Gray’s chiefs engage in anti-LGBT biased and discriminatory policing themselves– so as to punish their critics– why is it any wonder that Gray’s MPD might tail Ruby Corado’s SUV for two miles and conduct a routine permit-arrest by swarming 4 PATROL CARS and 7 OFFICERS to harass and intimidate the trans and gay occupant of that vehicle.

    In addition to the homophobic politician awardee cited above, Gray’s police chief intentionally gave out MPD police awards to TWO OTHER Ward 5 ANC Commissioners, Steptoe and Henderson who scored MINUS TWO and ZERO, respectively, on this year’s GLAA candidate survey.

    Again, Gray and Lanier couldn’t send a louder message tacitly encouraging homophobia and transphobia within MPD’s ranks.

  • BRIAN, repeating BS does not make it valid. or relevant. i get that you hate chief lanier. i get that you hate vincent gray. you are misguided. get back under your rock. you lack the courage to actually become involved and help implement change. you lack the courage to make statements under your own name. DO NOT school me on how well informed you are…. you know nothing. your bias blinds you to anything that does not support your own perspective. now look up. do you see a rock overhead? if not, you are not where you belong.

  • the artist formerly known as brian

    Jeri, I hate to keep confusing you with the facts, but this is ‘just in’ from WaPo…


    Gray knew of ‘shadow campaign,’ Thompson prosecutors say;
    mayor says, ‘These are lies’

    By Ann E. Marimow, Mike DeBonis and Paul Schwartzman, Updated: Monday, March 10, 5:35 PM

    Mayor Vincent C. Gray knew about the illegal “shadow” campaign that helped get him elected in 2010, and personally asked a D.C. businessman for help funding the operation, federal prosecutors said Monday.

    At a court hearing, prosecutors alleged for the first time that Gray (D) understood that he had to keep the illegal campaign a secret. In fact, Gray and the businessman, Jeffrey E. Thompson, agreed that the candidate would refer to Thompson as “Uncle Earl” to keep the scheme hidden, prosecutors said.

    You know what they say… “The truth always hurts.”

  • This "news" of misconduct does not qualify as an allegation…in three years, no charges have been filed to serve that Vincent Gray is alleged to have done any wrong. What we have here is innuendo, released by a US Attorney at a very strategic moment, to discredit a Mayor who has championed the rights and welfare of the District's most oppressed and disadvantaged citizens. This "news" is a cheap shot, made in the press and outside of a courtroom, to alter the outcome of an upcoming election. Don't be manipulated. Vince Gray has the vision and commitment to really make DC "One City". We NEED for the progress to continue. Four More Years. *** GRAY 2014 ***

© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.