D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) is endorsing Sekou Biddle in the race for the vacant at-large seat on the council, providing a sizeable boost to the school board member just days before the D.C. Democratic State Committee names a replacement.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Brown called Biddle "a phenomenal guy" who is "smart with a sense of integrity."
"He would be someone on the council who could move the discussion forward and bring substance and bring collaboration in these tough, tough times," Brown said.
Biddle is running against former Council member Vincent C. Orange, Calvin H. Gurley, Stanley J. Mayes, Kelvin J. Robinson and Dorothy Douglas for the Democratic nomination to replace Brown, who gave up his seat to become chairman. Thursday, the state Democratic committee will select its nominee, who will assume office immediately pending a special election in the spring, in which any registered voter can participate.
Until last month, Orange was widely believed to the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination. But committee members say Biddle has been coming on strong, resulting in a race that observers say is now too close to call.
Brown, who defeated Orange in the chairman's race last year, said he decided to get involved in the race because he's known Biddle for years. Brown added he believes he deserves a say in who replaces him.
He noted Mayor Vincent C. Gray hand-picked Council member Yvette D. Alexander to replace him as a Ward 7 council member after Gray was elected council chairman in 2006. Brown also cited former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's (D) successful effort in 2007 to help Muriel Bowser succeed him as a Ward 4 council member upon his election as mayor.
"I am going to get behind the person I believe in," said Brown, adding his endorsement is "unequivocal."
Brown said he's already begun telling the 80 members of the state committee he prefers for Biddle. On Tuesday, Brown's father, Marshall, is co-hosting a fund-raiser for Biddle at Ben's Chili Bowl.
Biddle, who was elected to the school board in 2007 and lives in Ward 4, is currently the southern regional director of Jumpstart, an educational organization specializing in pre-kindergarten programs.
Along with Marshall Brown, the Ben's Chili Bowl fund-raiser is being co-hosted by several close associates of former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), including political strategist Tom Lindenfeld, restaurant owner Max Brown, former Fenty campaign treasurer Ben Soto and Darryl Wiggins, who chaired Bowser's campaign.
This post has been modified since it was first published.