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Orange campaign continues as he seeks Brown's open seat

Ann Marimow

Vincent Orange may have conceded defeat to Council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large) in last week's contest for chairman, but he's not giving up his effort to return to the D.C. Council. Orange wants the DC Democratic State Committee to appoint him to Brown's at-large seat, which is all but certain to be vacant after the November general election.

In a letter to the state committee Thursday, Orange said he is well-suited to assist the council in "overcoming the tough challenges," particularly in the areas of finance, education, economic development and job creation.

Orange's decision to throw his name into the race is a reversal from his position during the primary election. When Orange hosted a barbecue at his home for Ward 5 Democrats in late August, it prompted speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a post-primary appointment.

But Orange told Post colleague Mike DeBonis that the cookout was a thank-you for working the straw poll. "I don't want to go back to the council," Orange said. "If I wanted to stay on the council, I never would have left."

Orange has a base of support among the 82-committee members who will vote on the appointment from his work as a Democration National Committeeman. He also has helped represent the party in a recent campaign finance dispute over the party's fundraising practices.

Orange's bid could set up a showdown with Council member Harry Thomas Jr., who has expressed interest in the at-large seat. Orange defeated Thomas's father for the Ward 5 seat and later the son.

David Meadows, executive director of the party, said he has not formally heard from any candidates.

D.C. election officials anticipate holding the special election contest for the seat next spring. On the Hill Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would reduce from 114 to 70 days the amount of time after a council vacancy occurs for special elections to fill the slot.

The measure was introduced by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) out of concern that the current time frame, established by the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, allows council seats to remain vacant for months before they are filled. Norton's office noted that the issue is particularly relevant with the upcoming vacancies that will be created by Vincent C. Gray's ascension to mayor and Brown's move up to council chairman.

It's not clear yet when Norton's bill might be taken up by the full House and Senate.

- Ann E. Marimow and Ben Pershing

By Ann Marimow  | September 23, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election, Ann E. Marimow, Ben Pershing, D.C. Council, Eleanor Holmes Norton  
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Oh, he just wants to fit in -- where he can get in!

Posted by: lrich14501 | September 23, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I actually think he is a good candidate for At-Large. Although it is Kwame's old seat, I think he will bring balance to the council, and atleast have Brown on his toes about what he is doing about that budget. Hopefully in 4yrs Orange wont expose the next set of debt problems Kwame has ahahahah

Posted by: SENative06 | September 24, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Side show bob orange times is up. I called the body dead weeks ago. What pissed me off aside from many other things is that he never spoke to the issues, which translated to me as I don't having anything new to bring to the table.

What we need on this council is either another female (someone strong) aside from Cheh or maybe someone who is from the hispanic community.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | September 24, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

thelildiva4u, maybe it could be a Puerto Rican. I will never vote for a Salvadoran.

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 24, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Are any of the Hispanics that live in DC actually citizens?

Posted by: hoos3014 | September 24, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@thelildiva4u Orange never spoke to the issues because there aren't any new issues or new ideas that need to be addressed obviously. The city has bad financial management, the crime needs to be decreased, jobs need to be given to DC residents, and the schools need tremendous reform. Those issues have always plagued the city so why identify them when they need solutions.

Lets just hope that unifying the city produces results & not just a city that makes everybody feel good about having the SAME issues as the last 4 years.

Maybe thats what people need to experience to know politics shouldnt be based off who you like more, or who shakes your hands, or even who puckers up their lips more to kiss your butt!

Posted by: SENative06 | September 27, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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