DC Mayor Vincent Gray apologizes for corruption in campaign; mayoral challengers respond

11:24 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Video: DC Mayor Vincent Gray On The Record

Mayor Gray arrives outside City Market for a press conference on Dec. 3 (@brucejohnson via Twitter)

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- DC Mayor Vincent Gray apologized Wednesday on behalf of his 2010 campaign for corruption that have led to four prosecutions. 

But Gray insisted that he was too immersed in his role as council chairman, at the time, to not know that anything illegal was happening in his campaign.

"I appreciate that Vince Gray saw the need to apologize to the city, for embarrassing the city," said DC Councilman Tommy Wells, who is challenging Gray in the democratic primary this April. "To apologize but say he's not responsible for running an illegal campaign - I think we need a better explanation than that."

Wells is one of eight democratic challengers to Gray's administration. DC Councilmember Muriel Bowser is another.

"I think that over the course of the next 80-some days all of those issues will be aired out. Residents will ask questions, the press will ask questions, and certainly I hope the U.S. Attorney gets his questions answered because no one is willing to risk the future of the District of Columbia with a pending investigation," said Bowser.

Wells insisted that it is time for the city to move in a different direction and distance itself from a list of political corruption charges.

"This is after other embarrassments, like three other council members committing and admitting to felonies. We need to turn the page," said Wells.

Bowser said, over the last year, residents have been telling her the way forward.

"To make sure that we have a mayor who's worried about the issues that they're concerned about - schools and jobs and affordable housing," she said.

Wells did point to one positive trend under the Gray administration but focused on what he described as the Mayor's failures. 

"Private investment in the city is going well but certainly a lot of the agencies in the city like the fire department and other areas are not doing well," said Wells. "We have the largest achievement gaps between black and white students in america and it has gotten worse under this administration."

But regardless of what the candidates say, it will come down to what voters do. 

Bowser asked, "Do we want a fresh start or do we want the same ole, same ole?"

Councilmembers and fellow democratic primary challengers Vincent Orange and Jack Evans were unavailable for comment.

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