The Washington Post

Orange has the cash in last days of D.C. council race

With one week to go until the April 26 special election, former council member Vincent B. Orange has amassed a massive cash advantage over his opponents in the race to fill an at-large seat on the D.C. council.

In campaign finance reports filed late Monday night, Orange (D) raised an additional $70,000 since March 11 for his bid, leaving him with a comfortable $134,000 in the bank to fund his get-out-the-vote efforts.

Orange, widely viewed as already having the highest name recognition among the candidates, now has more than four times as much money left in the bank as his nearest rival.

Council member Sekou Biddle (D), who was appointed by the D.C. Democratic State Committee in January to temporarily fill the council seat pending the special election, actually has outraised Orange since March 11.

Biddle reported taking in about $74,000, but high staff and consultant costs and an aggressive direct mail campaign has left him with just $25,000 in the bank.

Biddle now lags behind Democrat Bryan Weaver in funds available for the final stretch of the campaign, the finance reports show. Weaver, a longtime progressive and community activist who lives in Ward 1, raised $26,000 over the past six weeks. He has $31,000 in the bank.

Democrat Joshua Lopez, a former aide to ex-mayor Adrian M. Fenty, reported he has about $19,000 left to spend on his effort. Lopez, who has been running a frugal yet relentless effort, has raised about $8,000 since March 11. He also spent $8,000 over the past month, the least of any of the major candidates.

Patrick Mara, the lone Republican in the race, reported he raised $28,000 since March 11 but spent nearly all of it. Mara, whose been endorsed by the Washington Post and has the backing of the D.C. Republican Committee, has only $15,000 left in the bank.

Orange’s big cash advantage will likely help him power an aggressive get-out-the-vote effort starting later this week. But in an election expected to attract just a fraction of the city’s 459,000 registered voters, few analysts are willing to predict that Orange can successfully leverage his money into an overwhelming showing.

Since last week, any registered voter has been able to cast an early at the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics at Judiciary Square. As of Monday evening, only 614 early ballots had been cast.

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.

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