D.C.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray tells NewsChannel 8: 'Our record was sufficient to have another four years'

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(WJLA) - Outgoing D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was a cordial defender of his record during his hour-long interview Thursday morning on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk but nonetheless admitted he was more or less blindsided by his primary loss to fellow Democrat Muriel Bowser more than two months ago.

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“Certainly it was a huge disappointment,” Gray, 71, said to host Bruce DePuyt. “I expected to win... I think our record was sufficient to have another four years as mayor.”

Gray’s defeat came amid allegations in March by federal prosecutors that he knew about an illegal fundraising scheme on his behalf that helped him win the office in 2010.

He didn’t address that and also remained mum about whom he might endorse in the Nov. 4 general election, saying he wants to hear more from Bowser, independent candidate David Catania and late-comer Carol Schwartz, a former Republican council member.

Even so, he dropped a hint of approval toward Schwartz’ bid.

“She is effusive, a tireless worker. . .,” Gray said. “I think she’s a credible candidate.”

Among the other topics Gray broached:

• The disappearance of Relisha Rudd, a case he said continues to bedevil him.
• The death of Cecil Mills outside a D.C. fire department, which Gray called “sickening.”
• A new soccer stadium for D.C. United, for which he continued to lobby.

He also touched on the controversy about the Washington Redskins name, which this week was deemed “disparaging to Native Americans,” by a federal board that also negated the team’s trademark designation.

“I’m a huge fan of the Washington football team – I’m not a fan of the name,” Gray said of the team that trains in Virginia and plays its home games in Maryland, adding he doesn’t understand why owner Dan Snyder doesn’t simply take a page from the playbook of former sports owner Abe Pollin, who changed the name of the NBA’s Washington Bullets to Washington Wizards.

Pollin, who died in 2009, changed the name, in part, because of gun violence in the District and elsewhere.

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