Fenty Write-In Campaign Picking Up Steam Through Grassroots Effort | Politics
Supporters of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty aren’t ready to give up his spot in office just yet. After losing the Democratic nomination to City Council Chairman Vincent Gray in September, a grassroots movement has been launched to re-elect Fenty via write-in vote.
John Hlinko, an independent consultant who helps leftist organizations gain awareness and who worked on the Wesley Clark for President Campaign in 2004, spearheaded the effort when he created the Run, Fenty, Run Facebook page shortly after the incumbent lost the Democratic primary.
By the end of the first day, Hlinko says the page had over 1,000 fans.
“On one hand it’s Facebook, so it’s not the same as a full-on campaign,” Hlinko said. “But it allows people to show their support.”
Now, just a few weeks later, the page has surpassed 5,000 fans. As of 1:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 5th, the Vince Gray for Mayor Facebook page had 4,763 fans.
Today, Tuesday, October 5, Hlinko and his growing team have taken another step in their attempt to get the word out, creating www.writefentyin.com. While Hlinko does say his group’s goal will be difficult to achieve, he said he still believes it can happen.
“I would say it’s definitely a long shot,” Hlinko said. “But it’s not the lottery. If I play the lottery, it’s all up to chance. The odds for this are zero if no one gets involved, but they increase the more people get involved. This is not a lottery. If the people want (Fenty) on November 2nd, they can make it happen.”
But if Hlinko and his crew begin to make a serious impact, will Fenty himself get involved? A source familiar with D.C. politics wasn’t so sure.
“Right now, (Fenty’s camp) is just focused on the transition,” The source said on condition of anonymity. “I don’t think (Fenty’s) going to run…some of the main Fenty people are about to throw a fundraiser for Gray.”
But the source wouldn’t count it out saying, “The numbers are out there, it’s just a matter of organization. Thousands of Independents and Republicans didn’t vote in the Primary. That’s huge. It’s hard to say, but maybe it’s possible. It really depends on who is backing (Hlinko’s team).”
Word of the write-in campaign is getting out. Hlinko said that social media is one of the main reasons he believes a potential write-in win is possible.
“Social media is absolutely critical in this effort,” He said. “We have two things that were addressing using social media. One, we are letting people know what we’re doing. Two, we’re letting people know it can happen. If someone has 27 friends on Facebook that all want to be part of (our page), that person might think, ‘well maybe this isn’t so crazy.’”
On the other side of this movement is recently nominated Vincent Gray. Traci Hughes, spokesperson for Gray, said that the candidate hopes to interact with all voters, including those on the Write-In Fenty campaign, before Election Day.
“We certainly appreciate the enthusiasm, and (Council Chairman Gray) continues to understand that there are some voters who are not in favor of his nomination,” Hughes said. “He’s going to continue to reach out to those voters, engage them, and hopefully assuage their fears.”
Hlinko stressed that the Write-In Fenty effort is not a knock on Gray, but instead desire for another term under the current DC Mayor.
“For me, it’s not anti-Gray at all,” Hlinko said. “I just think of it this way: If you’re playing in the World Series, and you’ve got a guy who has three home runs already, why would you pinch-hit for him? Another player might work out well, but why would you go against someone with that track record?”