Orange edges out a victory to beat Mara


It was a special election. It was anyone’s election to win and many candidates’ to loose. Of the nine candidates, well-known household name, Vincent Orange (D) garnered the most votes, edging out a victory over Patrick Mara, the only Republican in the race.  The special election was held to fill the vacant At-Large seat previously held by Kwame Brown (D), who recently became the council chair, following this past September’s primary.

Vincent Orange won with 28% of the vote, closely followed by Patrick Mara with 26% and Sekou Biddle (D) with 20%.  Other candidates who placed included Brian Weaver (D) with 13% and Joshua Lopez (D) with 7.1%.  Tom Brown (D), Dorothy Douglass (D), Akran Haile (I) and Statehood Green Party candidate Alan Page each got 2% or under.

This election has taken shape quite interestingly over the past four months. Sekou Biddle was appointed to the interim seat in early January, mainly supported by Council Chair Kwame Brown and Mayor Gray.  However, as the election took shape the Chairman and the Mayor became involved in scandals that ultimately hurt Biddle’s reputation among the D.C. electorate.  His favoritism slowly began too wane as people began associating him with the culture of corruption that started to permeate the council.  Then several of the councilmember’s, many of whom were also involved in ethical scandals of their own, backed him, further crippling him.  Vincent Orange capitalized on this weakness. He labeled himself as a candidate who would be with the residents of D.C. and bring renewed leadership and oversight to the council.  His mailers suggested that he was the most qualified candidate, having previously served two terms as ward 5 council member. He won by a large margin in his home, ward 5 and took the lead in wards 4, 7 and 8.  Patrick Mara distinguished himself as an independent voice, something he felt the council was lacking. He appealed to many of the Republican voters across the city and garnered the mostly white populated wards of 2, 3 and 6.  His message resonated, but still fell short to pull off a victory.  Brian Weaver did well in his ward of residence; ward 1, taking the majority of its vote.

There were also two other special elections for State Board of Education in wards 4 and 8.  In ward 4, D. Kamili Anderson won with 41%, edging out her victory over Andrew Moss who got 37%.  In ward 8, young candidate Trayon White Sr. won with 33% of the vote, beating out two other candidates, Philip Pannell, who got 27% and Eugene Dewitt Kinlow who got 16%.

Still, this at-large seat is up for election in another year. This was a special election to fill the vacancy but the seat is up again in next year’s primary in April.  Vincent Orange will have to now campaign to maintain his seat along with other council seats that will be up across the city.


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