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Can Mo Elleithee et al. beat Fenty's "spectacularly shop?"

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 18, 2010 at 06:38:35 AM EDT

As you may know, long-time Virginia political strategist Mo Elleithee is now a senior advisor to D.C. mayoral candidate Vincent Gray, running against Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary on September 14.  The question is, can Mo et al. defeat what Washington City Paper's "Loose Lips" calls the "spectacularly dysfunctional" Fenty press operation?
LL wouldn't normally bore his readers with tales of spokesperson shenanigans. But Fenty is facing the very real possibility that in two months he'll lose the Democratic primary to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. And many of his troubles involve what political operatives call "atmospherics"-the very stuff a PR professional is supposed to manage.

In the Fenty administration, though, the paid PR professionals are AWOL. Instead, the mayor has let his very own Samwise Gamgee, D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, become the de facto spokesman. "I cringe every time he opens his fucking mouth," said one Fenty pal, who spoke on condition of anonymity for, well, obvious reasons.

Look, I know that Mo - who I named the second most significant Democratic campaign person of the past decade - has been on a bit of a rough streak recently, with losses by his clients Hillary Clinton in 2008, Terry McAuliffe, Creigh Deeds and Jody Wagner in 2009. On the other hand, Mo won some big ones - Mark Warner '01, Tim Kaine '05 - a few years back, and is due for a win at this point [UPDATE: apparently, Mo also helped  elect Tom Udall to the Senate in 2008 as well].  Of course, it's never easy unseating an incumbent, but Adrian Fenty has alienated an awful lot of people with his arrogant, aloof leadership style. And now, he's running what Loose Lips describes as an utterly incompetent campaign for reelection.  I don't know about you, but I'm putting my money on a big "W" for Mo in this one!
lowkell :: Can Mo Elleithee et al. beat Fenty's "spectacularly shop?"
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Fenty deserves re-election (0.00 / 0)
Aloof doesn't equal incompetent. DC - particularly its schools - have done well under Fenty, and it's alarming that Gray is running almost entirely on a platform of rolling back Michelle Rhee's school reform. Not very progressive.

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With all due respect, Miles... (0.00 / 0)
Gray is not running on a platform of rolling back school reform.  His platform is actually the exact opposite.  If you read his education plan, you'll see he wants to move forward with aggressive school reform, but in a more collaborative expansive way.
Fenty has ignored early childhood education.  Gray's plan deals with it.
Fenty has ignored higher education.  Gray's plan deals with it.
Fenty has ignored special education.  Gray's plan deals with it.
Fenty is mismanaged the schools budget horribly.  Gray has a plan to get it under control.
If you read Gray's plan you'll see he calls for a strong, empowered Chancellor.  But unlike Fenty, Gray also believes that school reform can't depend on one person.  Any plan that depends on one specific individual is a plan destined for failure.  Gray's school reform plan calls for systemic change that will survive past the administration of any one Chancellor or Mayor.
If you want more information, check it out here -- http://www.vincegrayformayor.c...

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I've liked and respected (0.00 / 0)
Mo since we met when we were both helping Bill Bradley in the snows of New Hampshire during 2000, but I think he's wrong on this one.

It used to be that being Mayor of NYC was called the toughest job in America, but the mayorality of DC probably now deserves that dubious distinction.  With respect to public education and public safety -- perhaps any mayor's top two areas of responsibility -- Fenty has displayed innovative thinking, managerial competence and positive results.  One can make the argument shorthand simply by naming two names:  Michelle Rhee and Cathy Lanier.


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