Vincent Orange may have conceded defeat to Council member Kwame Brown (D-At Large) in last week's contest for chairman, but he's not giving up his effort to return to the D.C. Council. Orange wants the DC Democratic State Committee to appoint him to Brown's at-large seat, which is all but certain to be vacant after the November general election.
In a letter to the state committee Thursday, Orange said he is well-suited to assist the council in "overcoming the tough challenges," particularly in the areas of finance, education, economic development and job creation.
Orange's decision to throw his name into the race is a reversal from his position during the primary election. When Orange hosted a barbecue at his home for Ward 5 Democrats in late August, it prompted speculation that he was laying the groundwork for a post-primary appointment.
But Orange told Post colleague Mike DeBonis that the cookout was a thank-you for working the straw poll. "I don't want to go back to the council," Orange said. "If I wanted to stay on the council, I never would have left."
Orange has a base of support among the 82-committee members who will vote on the appointment from his work as a Democration National Committeeman. He also has helped represent the party in a recent campaign finance dispute over the party's fundraising practices.
Orange's bid could set up a showdown with Council member Harry Thomas Jr., who has expressed interest in the at-large seat. Orange defeated Thomas's father for the Ward 5 seat and later the son.
David Meadows, executive director of the party, said he has not formally heard from any candidates.
D.C. election officials anticipate holding the special election contest for the seat next spring. On the Hill Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would reduce from 114 to 70 days the amount of time after a council vacancy occurs for special elections to fill the slot.
The measure was introduced by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) out of concern that the current time frame, established by the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, allows council seats to remain vacant for months before they are filled. Norton's office noted that the issue is particularly relevant with the upcoming vacancies that will be created by Vincent C. Gray's ascension to mayor and Brown's move up to council chairman.
It's not clear yet when Norton's bill might be taken up by the full House and Senate.
- Ann E. Marimow and Ben Pershing