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Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Vincent Orange says 'it's full speed ahead' for D.C. council bid

Former D.C. Council member Vincent C. Orange, who has kept a low-profile since losing the D.C. Democratic State Committee endorsement two weeks ago, confirmed Wednesday he's still a candidate in the April 26 special election for an at-large council seat.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Orange said he increasingly likes his odds of being able to return to a board he sat on from 1999 to 2007.

"I'm in the race," said Orange, who added he was at the McDonald's at the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road collecting signatures. "It's full speed ahead."

Orange, a longtime Democratic activist, suffered a setback to his efforts at a political comeback on Jan 6 when the 82-member state committee selected former school board member Sekou Biddle (D) to temporarily fill the council seat left vacant by Kwame Brown (D).

After the state committee selected Biddle over Orange by 9 votes, the former PEPCO executive vowed he would take his case directly to voters in the special election.

But Orange has been relatively quiet since that vote, causing some to question whether he was fully committed to making the race. There have also been suggestions he was angling for another job, which he dismissed Wednesday.

"I'm getting signatures and people together" for a council bid, Orange said. "A lot of people are still upset by what happened at the D.C. Democratic State Committee."

Along with Orange and Biddle, as many as 16 people could be candidates in an election expected to attract less than 25,000 voters. Earlier Wednesday, GOP School Board member Patrick Mara and Ward 1 activist Bryan Weaver both announced plans to run.

Orange, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2006, said he believes he's in the strongest position to pull off a victory because he said he has "name recognition." He noted he received about 50,000 votes in his unsuccessful campaign against Brown in last year's council chairman's race.

"It's a very short race and the first couple months, January and February, are going to be kind of cold so things will really blossom in March," Orange said.

In the chairman's race, Orange received the endorsement of the Washington Post, which he said boosted his campaign in parts of the city. He said he expects many of those his supporters from the chairman's race to also line up behind him for the spring campaign.

As for Biddle, Orange said it was a sign of weakness that so many candidates are lining up to run against the interim member.

"Obviously, he can't keep people out," Orange said.

By  |  01:36 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Categories:  Sekou Biddle, Sekou Biddle, Sekou Biddle

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