Former Vermont governor Howard Dean is supporting Sekou Biddle in Tuesday’s at-large race D.C. Council race, sending an e-mail to Democrats praising Biddle for being a “smart, dedicated leader who will champion progressive policies.”

In this June 23, 2003 file photo, Howard Dean points to the crowd in Burlington, Vt., while making his official entry into the presidential race. (Toby Talbot/AP)

Dean, an unsuccessful candidate for president in 2004 and a former Democratic National Committee chairman, also endorsed Biddle in last year’s special election. Biddle, who was serving as interim council member at the time, was unseated in that race by council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At large).

“Sekou will bring his years of experience advocating for those who would otherwise not have a voice, as an educator and champion of urban education reform, to the Wilson Building,” wrote Dean. “He will speak up and push for progress on ethics, education, affordable housing and jobs.”

In the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, Dean carried the District with 43 percent of the vote, but Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry, who became the Democratic nominee, was not on the ballot in the city that year.

In addition to Dean, Biddle announced Thursday an endorsement from Local 25, a progressive labor group that represents 7,000 hotel workers.

But Orange, who is seeking a full term, has won broad support from labor and business groups. The Metro Washington Council, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Council 20, the Fire Fighters Association, SEIU Local 722, LiUNA Local 657, Washington DC Association of Realtors, Washington DC Building & Construction Trades Council, and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce are all supporting Orange.