Liz Farmer, Washington Examiner, January 2, 2011
Mayor Vincent Gray’s second year in office is expected to start Tuesday by facing a grass-roots effort to recall him from office after a year marked by a hiring scandal, heightened scrutiny and the start of a grand jury probe into his mayoral campaign.
But critics and supporters alike say any legitimate effort would costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, would have to be run like a high-profile political campaign and even then, the chances of success are slim.
D.C. resident Frederick Butler, founder of www.recallvincegray.com, said he has been gathering email addresses of potential volunteers and donors for such an effort. He told The Washington Examiner that he’s “ready to go” Tuesday — the first day he can file for a recall under D.C. law.
“As soon as the doors open, I’m going to be there and I’m going to file,” he said, referring to the Board of Elections and Ethics.
The investigation into Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign has been a distraction for nearly the entire first year of his administration.
Six weeks after he moved into the mayor’s office, it was revealed that Gray’s team hired allies and family members of staffers for city jobs, including minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown. After being fired in February from his $110,000-a-year job, Brown said members of Gray’s mayoral campaign gave him cash-stuffed envelopes and money orders so he would stay in the race and keep up his verbal assault on then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
But the sheer level of support required for a recall election has some doubtful that Butler’s efforts will succeed. D.C. law requires that a recall petition obtain valid signatures from 10 percent of the city’s registered voters — or about 45,000. The petition also must include at least 10 percent of voters from five of the eight wards to demonstrate a citywide sentiment.