With every precinct reporting, Orange claimed 41.03 percent of the vote to Biddle’s 39.98 percent — a 543-vote difference. That didn’t include absentee, provisional or curbside ballots, though, which will be counted within 10 days. If those push the margin below the 1 percent mark, a recount will automatically be triggered.

Throughout the night, Orange and Biddle remained neck and neck, with Biddle looking like he could have pulled off the upset of the election season. (He would have beat the guy who beat him in last April’s special election — what a storyline!) Still, Orange remained strong in Wards 5, 7 and 8, while challengers Peter Shapiro and E. Gail Anderson Holness sapped up votes across the city — 10.86 and 7.48 percent, respectively.

At his campaign party in Park View, Biddle acknowledged that Shapiro ate into his share of the progressive vote. “[T]he numbers here show he has always been at best in third place, a spoiler firmly where he sits,” he said, echoing complaints of many of his supporters that Shapiro had helped give Orange another term on the council. Still, Holness picked up votes in Orange territory, potentially canceling out any spoiler effect by Shapiro.

At his party, Orange hesitated to declare victory, but seemed relieved at the final result: “There is a God,” he said, according to the Post’s Robert McCartney.

[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.