District residents who thought the race for mayor was over when incumbent Adrian M. Fenty lost the primary election on Sept. 14 were wrong. After John Hlinko launched a write-in campaign, Fenty supporters District-wide began campaigning again in his favor. But at the two Ward 3 precincts that line Albemarle Street in Tenleytown, the one Fenty supporter who stood in a gray jacket and clutched a “Write Fenty In” sign to his chest wouldn’t say a word.
Albemarle Street is home to precinct 30 and 31 in Washington. While this ward is known for its large white population and seemingly larger group of Fenty supporters, only one write-in campaigner was found on the street around 6:30 p.m.
There were Gray supporters aplenty, however, who were eager to talk about their candidate and explain why Fenty isn’t a good candidate.
“One of the things Gray will do that Fenty didn’t do is care about the mental health system,” said Bonnie Gallagher, a licensed clinical social worker in Washington, who sat outside recinct 30.
Referencing Fenty’s 2009 plan to shut down the D.C. Community Services Agency, a group that provided community-based mental health services to uninsured or underinsured patients, and other decisions he has made regarding mental health patients, Gallagher said she was in Gray’s favor.
“There are just some people who should be in the hospital,” she said, noting that under Fenty, it was not likely for homeless or poor patients to be able to afford hospital care for their mental health issues, but that Gray had founded Covenant House Washington, a nonprofit with the goal of providing shelter and other services to homeless individuals in D.C. With that, she added that many homeless individuals have mental health issues.
One block down, 24-year-old Ryan Fox, a registered Republican who said he “should be a registered Independent,” was leaving precinct 31.
For the mayoral election, Fox said his hope “is that whoever gets elected will create jobs.” However his national agenda didn’t follow that of many Republicans. “I’m not really concerned about the national race – whoever gets the House gets it,” he said.
At 9:30 p.m., results from the election were not available from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, but rumors had already begun to spread that the likelihood of a Fenty write-in win were slim.
A Fenty supporter approaching the Tenleytown station from Albemarle Street hung up a phone call to an immediate expletive when he heard news about early and absentee ballot votes. The supporter preferred to remain anonymous “because I have ties with some candidates,” but said “it’s hard to get 100,000 people to even come out to vote.”
“But I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping maybe something will change.”