D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange was declared the apparent winner of the April 3 at-large Democratic primary after the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics finished counting several thousand absentee and provisional ballots Friday.
Board officials said Friday that Orange edged into a 1,746-vote lead over challenger Sekou Biddle, an apparent victory of about 3 percent of the vote.
The official results won’t be certified until Wednesday, but Orange’s margin is large enough to avoid an automatic recount.
Heading into Friday’s count, Orange held a narrow 543-vote lead over Biddle. The closeness of the race caused many to suspect it could still tilted in Biddle’s favor or at least or at the very least guarantee a citywide recount.
But Orange dominated among voters who cast absentee and provisional ballots, winning them by a margin of more than 2 to 1.
In the first real test of how the electorate is tolerating the federal investigation in campaign finances in the District, council members Marion Barry, Yvette M. Alexander, Muriel Bowser and Jack Evans also sailed to victory in the primary.
The primary results indicate that individual council members were able to insulate themselves from the widening probe. Orange’s name, however, has been at the center of the controversy over campaign finances. The at-large also featured former Prince George’s County council member Peter Shapiro and activist E. Gail Anderson Holness. In the final vote, Orange received 40.4 percent of the vote to Biddle’s 37.4 percent. Shapiro finished with just under 11 percent and Holness took 7.4 percent.
In addition to Orange’s victory, Democratic Council members Muriel Bowser (Ward 4,) Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) and Marion Barry (Ward 8) also won their primaries. Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) ran unopposed, as did Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and shadow representative candidate Nate Bennett-Flemming.
The city’s ceremonial shadow senator position was also up for grabs, and incumbent Michael D. Brown won that race.
Barry, Bowser and Evans are running unopposed in the November general election. Alexander will face Republican Ronald Moten, an ally of former mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
The winner of the Democratic primary in the at-large contest will appear on the November ballot with Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At large,) Republican Mary Brooks Beatty and Independent David Grosso. The top two-voters will win an at-large seat, but one of the winning contenders must be a non-Democrat.