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Posted at 04:07 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Lopez files signatures, gets endorsement for at-large race

Joshua Lopez, who worked as a political aide to former mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), said he has filed enough signatures to be a candidate in the April 26 special election for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Lopez, who worked as Fenty's Ward 4 coordinator and also headed up the write-in Fenty campaign in the fall, said he and his supporters collected and turned in more than 3,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.

"I am honored by the swift gathering of over 3,000 petition signatures by dedicated volunteers, and the outpouring of support I have received so far," Lopez said in a statement. "Instead of vying for the votes of the Democratic State Committee, I have been spending my time vying for the support of DC residents."

Lopez, 26, also announced he's picked up his first major endorsement. The Rev. Robert Childs, who served on the school board from 1997 to 2001, said in a statement that he believes Lopez is best suited to continue the education reforms started by former chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.
"Lopez brings a fresh voice and energy to a city council that is in dire need of it," said Childs, a former president of the board. "I like his approach, and I support the continuation of education reform."

Lopez is vying for the seat left vacant when Kwame Brown (D) was sworn in as chairman of the council. Last week, the D.C. Democratic State Committee voted to appoint former school board member Sekou Biddle as an interim replacement.

Biddle, who was sworn in Friday and has the support of many of his council colleagues, is expected to run in the special election to serve out the remainder of the term. Jacque Patterson, head of the Ward 8 Democrats, will also probably be a candidate. Former council member Vincent Orange, a Democrat, and school board member Patrick Mara, a Republican, could also enter the race.

Although he doesn't have extensive experience in local politics, Lopez is positioning himself as the only candidate in the race aligned with Fenty. Lopez could also be the only Hispanic candidate in the race.

"The last thing we need on the city council is a rubber stamp," Lopez said. "The new administration and reelected council members won by making a lot of promises. Somebody needs to be there to keep them honest and accountable."

By  |  04:07 PM ET, 01/10/2011

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