Council member Kwame R. Brown (D-At Large) caused a bit of a stir at the John A. Wilson Building Tuesday when he asked Donna Cooper, a Pepco senior public affairs manager, whether former council member Vincent Orange, now a vice president at the utility, would challenge him in the council chairman's race.
Cooper was at the council meeting to monitor legislation, but Brown prodded her about Orange's plans and whether Pepco would support him. "I asked her, 'Does Pepco have this candidate running for chair?'" Brown confirmed in an interview. "She was there. Hey, she works at Pepco. I asked her."
Is Brown worried about competition? "I could care less. It's a democracy," he said.
So far, Brown and Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) have announced that they are in the running. While Brown and Calvin Gurley have filed paperwork to run, Evans has not.
The buzz is that Orange, who gave up his Ward 5 seat for an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2006, would like to jump in the race if Evans decides to bow out. Evans said in a brief interview that he's still in.
Cooper confirmed the incident but referred questions to Pepco's public relations arm. Brown later said he was joking and did not know he would be taken so seriously.
Orange, who is out of town, could not be reached.
However, he is throwing his annual birthday bash at The Park at Fourteenth on Thursday. As a source close to Orange said, "There will be a thousand people there and he will have a mic."
UPDATE, 6:40 p.m.:
Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey said Orange has a "constitutional right" to run for office. "Mr. Orange has not discussed any campaign plans with the executives of Pepco," he said. "Pepco has not pledged any support."
-- Nikita Stewart