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As Gray Launches Re-Election Campaign, He Apologizes For Troubled 2010 Effort

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Mayor Vincent Gray faces eight challengers in the fight for D.C.'s top office.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Mayor Vincent Gray faces eight challengers in the fight for D.C.'s top office.

As the race for mayor picks up steam in D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray officially launched his bid for re-election over the weekend in Southeast Washington.

As part of the 2014 campaign kick-off, Gray started off by apologizing for his last mayoral campaign. Gray told a crowded auditorium Saturday that he knows the 2010 campaign caused great pain and the city suffered  great embarrassment.

"So today, I want to apologize to you. I want to apologize for the pain that my campaign caused. And I want to ask for your forgiveness for what happened," he said.

Supporters in the crowd jumped to their feet, applauding and chanting "Four more years."

The ongoing federal investigation into city government corruption and Gray's 2010 campaign — as well as the guilty pleas of four people associated with it — have cast a shadow over Gray's first term.

The mayor hasn't been charged with any wrongdoing, but questions about what Gray knew about the $653,000 "shadow campaign" to help him in 2010 have dogged the mayor throughout his tenure.

Gray told the crowd — and the media — it's time to move on.

"It is time to turn the page. I know that some journalists and our opponents want you to focus on the past. I know they that they care about ratings and selling newspapers. But you know what I care about, ladies and gentlemen? I care about you, and moving the city forward," he said.

Gray wasn't available for questions by the media after his speech. Campaign manager Chuck Thies told reporters the mayor was instead  spending his time with voters.

Supporter Janet Gasaway said after the speech, Gray's apology was important. "We waited awhile for it. I think it was genuine," she said.

Gray's speech, meanwhile, hit on the key themes of his campaign: namely the relative success in D.C. over the past for four years and the need to make sure everyone in the city benefits from the prosperity.

But if Gray's supporters have turned the page on the scandals, it's unlikely that Gray's opponents — all eight of them — will do the same as questions about 2010 still remain and the federal investigation continues.

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