City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, citing the need for additional leadership in the District, has formally tossed his hat in the 2010 mayoral race.

While it had been rumored since early last year that Gray would be the chief contestant against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, the former had kept a relatively low profile about his intentions until this week, when surrounded by a contingent of about 100 supporters at the Franklin D. Reeves Municipal Center, he officially announced his candidacy.

The 69-year-old Democrat is a native Washingtonian and has been a staunch critic of Fenty,39, who is positioning for a second term at helm of city politics.
Compared to his competitor, Gray said he sees himself as  “collaborative, collegial and inclusive.” 

According to Gray, Fenty’s style has been neither collaborative nor inclusive  — particularly his controversial plan to take over the District’s public schools.

Gray also said that at times, the mayor has made decisions that didn’t include the Council or even discussion with members of the governing body.

However, Gray said during his brief announcement on Tuesday that he is ready to take on Fenty in what has been projected to be a spirited contest. 

“As you know, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk,” he said in comments to the media. “Today is a day to celebrate.” He also stated his commitment to the District, adding that, “I absolutely love this city . . .  “but the reality is, we can do better.”

Gray is expected to nose-dive into a vigorous campaign which, money-wise will have to do a lot of catching up to Fenty’s coffers.

Reports state that the mayor has already raised as much as $4 million for his campaign war chest.