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Posted at 4:57 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Biddle campaign aims to oust three competitors from ballot

By Mike DeBonis

A member of D.C. Council member Sekou Biddle's campaign is moving to toss four three competitors from the ballot in the April 26 special election, threatening to vastly alter the race to fill an at-large seat.

Bandele McQueen, a lawyer with McKenna Long and Alridge who is serving as Biddle's treasurer, is challenging Republican Patrick Mara and Democrats Vincent Orange, Jacque Patterson and Bryan Weaver, according to a member of the Biddle campaign.

Those candidates represent Biddle's strongest competition in his quest to keep the seat he has filled on an at-large basis since January. If Biddle can oust any of the three Democrats, it is likely to send more Democratic voters his way, but at the cost of alienating supporters of the other candidates.

Veteran political consultant Tom Lindenfeld, who is working for Biddle, defended the move: "Rules is rules." He added that the task of collecting petition signatures can serve as a test of governing acumen. "Managing a complicated budget shouldn't be done by people who can't manage the petition process," he said.

Candidates were required to submit names, addresses and signatures of 3,000 registered city voters to appear on the ballot. Biddle submitted 549 petition pages at 20 names each. Mara submitted 418, Orange 337, Patterson 193 and Weaver 195.

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics will rule on the challenges in the coming days.

UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: Lindenfeld called to clarify an earlier report: Biddle is not challenging Orange, only Mara, Patterson and Weaver.

By Mike DeBonis  | February 28, 2011; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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