D.C. Council candidate Sekou Biddle’s former campaign manager is accusing another old boss, Council member Vincent B. Orange (D), of trying to impugn her reputation by making repeated mentions of her criminal record.
Vicky Wilcher, who briefly headed up Biddle’s campaign late last year, said Orange is “dirty” for reminding voters of her arrest last spring for bringing a firearm into a city building.
She noted that she was working for Orange when she said she forget the handgun was in her purse when she tried to enter One Judiciary Square to monitor the counting of absentee ballots on behalf of Orange.
Wilcher lives in Martinsburg, W. Va., where its legal to openly carry a firearm. She plead guilty to attempting to carry a firearm in the District without a license and was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and a $150 fine.
Biddle is challenging Orange in the April 3 Democratic primary. Earlier this year, Wilcher signed on as Biddle’s campaign manager. But Wilcher, a Republican who also does consulting work for Democrats, left the Biddle campaign this year after she got another job.
Despite her past ties to his campaign, Orange attempted last week to tie Biddle to her and her gun charge. In an interview with The Washington Post, Orange said Biddle’s decision to hire Wilcher raises questions about his judgment – a theme he repeated in a WPFW radio debate last week.
Wilcher has since gone on the offensive, saying she is speaking out to protect her reputation from Orange’s attacks.
“I am deeply saddened and deeply disappointed in this man,” Wilcher said. “To take a person through this kind of anguish because I made a mistake is wrong. And to use me for your own political game is dirty. It’s dirty politics.”
Wilcher added that voters are getting a chance to see Orange’s “true character.”
She said the only reason why she rushed to the Board of Elections and Ethics last May was because Orange adviser Vernon Hawkins called her and asked her to get there quickly to help observer vote-counting.
“Vince conveniently forgets that he sent me into that building and that I worked for him at the time,” Wilcher said. “Now, all of a sudden, I am no more than a terrible Republican who tried to take a gun into a (city) building?”
In an interview, Orange defended his statements about Wilcher, saying Biddle’s decision to hire her “shows his character and judgment.”
“He is trying to say I have the character problem, when he should look at himself,” said Orange, noting that council candidate Peter Shapiro has also questioned Biddle over his decision to hire Wilcher.
What about the fact that Wilcher was working for Orange when the gun incident took place? Orange said he’s not a hypocrite for raising the issue because, he claims, Wilcher was not on his paid staff.
“She worked for me as a volunteer. She worked for (Biddle) as a campaign manager,” Orange said. “I did not know the extent of her issues.”
Wilcher responded that Orange’s contention that she was an unpaid worker is “a flat-out, bold-faced lie.”