Biddle opens a well-staffed office for council race
Interim DC. Council member Sekou Biddle (D-At large) opened his campaign office Sunday as he gears up for the April 26 citywide election, telling a room of supporters they have to move at "light speed" to fend off more than a half-dozen potential challengers.
The opening of the office, located on the top floor of Mayor Vincent C. Gray's former campaign headquarters on 6th Street NW near Chinatown, symbolizes Biddle's early advantage in fundraising and organization in his bid to permanently fill the at-large seat left vacant by Kwame Brown's (D) election as chairman last year.
Not only does Biddle have a permanent office, he already has a large paid staff to try to reach out to voters and craft a message amid growing indications it won't be an easy year to run as an incumbent.
Mike Price, a former communications adviser in Brown's council office, is serving as Biddle's campaign manager. In addition to Price, Biddle has four paid staffers and two paid consultants-- longtime Democratic strategists Tom Lindenfeld and Marshall Brown, who is Kwame Brown's father.
Terry McGuire is working as Biddle's deputy campaign manager while Dennis Jaffe is heading up volunteer and community outreach efforts. Michelle Fox is Biddle's paid communications director and June Jimenez is working as his finance coordinator. Biddle's staff will work out of the campaign office, located at 1004 6th Street NW.
"We are going to run a strong, aggressive campaign," Price said.
Inside Biddle headquarters, staffers are already gearing up for a large five-day get out to vote effort for the weekend leading up to the April 26 special election. The walls of the office are plastered with five sheets of large paper with space for the names of 30 people willing to sign up to work get-out-the-vote efforts on April 22, April 23, April 24, April 25 and Election Day.
"We've got to move at light speed and we've got to move at all times," Biddle told about 50 supporters. "It's really about talking to as many people as possible."
Biddle, was selected in early January by the D.C. Democratic State Committee to fill the seat pending the special election, enters the race with the backing of Brown, Gray and Council members Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7).
While Biddle establishment support is boosting his fundraising, recent controversies surrounding Gray and Brown's spending of tax dollars could hobble their efforts to campaign for him.
Biddle will be running against Ward 1 Democratic activist Bryan Weaver, former Fenty aide Josh Lopez, GOP school board member Patrick Mara, former council member Vincent B. Orange, school board member Dorothy Douglas and Ward 8 Democratic Party Committee Chairman Jacque Patterson, many of whom are trying to position themselves as outsiders.
During his speech, Biddle appeared unconcerned about the negative news swirling around the council and mayor. He praised his colleagues for supporting him, saying "they put themselves out there" because they believe he is "the right person for the job right now."
Biddle also singled out UNITE HERE Local 25, a union representing about 8,000 city hotel and restaurant workers. Local 25 endorsed Biddle last week, and John Boardman, the organization's executive secretary-treasure, attended his office opening.
"It helps to have friends and it helps to have friends willing to come in early, Biddle said.
Others mentioned or spotted at the office opening include: Bowser, campaign chairman Darryl Wiggins, Marshall Brown, school board member Mary Lord, and Nate Bennett Flemning, who was a candidate shadow representative last year.
This post was updated at 10:27 a.m.
| February 28, 2011; 9:06 AM ET
Categories: April 26 special election, D.C. Council, Josh Lopez, Joshua Lopez, Kwame Brown, Marion Barry, Mary Cheh, Mayor Fenty, Sekou Biddle, Vincent C. Gray, Vincent Orange, vincent gray
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