D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) on Friday endorsed Sekou Biddle in the at-large race for a seat on the council, meaning a majority of the 13-member body has solidified behind the same candidate.
Wells issued a statement through the Biddle campaign announcing his support one day after council member David. A. Catania (I-At-large) also got behind the effort.
Wells called Biddle, an interim member of the council pending the April 26 special election, “a strong partner for building a livable walkable city.”
“Our City Council must continue to substantially improve our public schools, create the next generation of mass transit to connect the region and our neighborhoods and ensure that we hold our public officials the highest standards of accountability,” Wells said. “I’ve watched [Biddle] cut his own independent path.”
Wells, the author of the city’s 5-cent tax on plastic bags, maintains a following among environmentalists and advocates for smart growth policies. Ward 1 activist Bryan Weaver, also a candidate in the race, has strong ties to many of those same communities.
In addition to Wells and Catania, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), D.C Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and council members Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Yvette D. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) are backing Biddle.
In an election that allows any registered voter to participate, Biddle will face eight others, including five Democrats: Weaver, former council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., the best-funded candidate with nearly $200,000 raised; Josh Lopez, an aide to the city’s previous mayor, Adrian M. Fenty; Ward 8 education activist Tom Brown; and Ward 7 school board member Dorothy Douglas. Ward 1 school board member
Patrick Mara is the lone Republican in the race. Alan Page is running as the Statehood Green Party candidate, and lawyer Arkan Haile is running as an independent. A Clarus Research Group poll released Monday showed that Orange has opened up a big lead over all the other candidates, but with nearly half of all voters still undecided the pollster conclude the race was “wide open.”