WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- D.C. councilman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray is on a campaign surge after a decisive victory against Mayor Adrian Fenty. Gray beat Fenty a Ward 4 straw poll thursday night 581 votes to 401.
Ward 4 is the mayor's home turf where he was a beloved Councilmember for six years.
"It was disappointing., not embarrassing, but disappointing," said Mayor Fenty.
The two men are competing with three other candidates for in the Democratic primary election that will be held next month.
The straw poll came after a heated debate Wednesday evening sponsored by Ward 4. Despite the big margin, the vote does not give Gray an instant endorsement from Ward 4 Democrats.
"This is a big victory for our campaign," said Adam Rubinson, Gray campaign manager, on the campaign website. "To come into Adrian Fenty's backyard and beat him so handily is a testament to the strength of both Vince Gray's message, as well as our campaign organization."
Deep divisions over education, government administration, summer jobs programs, economic development and fiscal policy gave each candidate the opportunity to distinguish his platform from that of his opponent.
"This city needs a mayor that is collaborative, corporative, open and transparent," Gray said as he criticized Fenty's approach to the job.
Fenty answered allegations that he is arrogant and autocratic, promising a different approach in a second term.
"We will have to make sure, absolutely, that going forward we bring more people into the process and that we listen," Fenty said.