On Jan. 6, with the backing of D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, the former State Board of Education member eked out a victory in a vote of Democratic party activists to temporarily fill Brown’s old at-large council seat pending a special election. Endorsements from Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and most of his council colleagues were soon to come, but alas, the insider support backfired as Gray and Brown became embroiled in controversy. Republican Patrick Mara and Democrat Bryan Weaver siphoned off at least some of his potential support, and Biddle finished third behind Vincent Orange and Mara in the March election.
Is he ready to give it another shot?
Yesterday, Biddle announced in an email to friends and supporters that he is resigning his job as executive director of Jumpstart, a nonprofit that focuses on delivering early childhood education to kids in low-income neighborhoods.
“In the wake of my four-month appointment to the At-Large seat on the City Council and subsequent campaign, I’ve done some thinking about what is next for me,” he wrote. “While I love Jumpstart and believe the mission is of critical importance, it is time for me to make a change and pursue new challenges.”
He added, “Ensuring a bright future for all children remains an issue near to my heart, and I’m sure that I’ll see many of you regardless of what my next step turns out to be.”
That next step could involve another run for office. Orange has to stand for re-election next year, and Biddle might like his chances in a Democrats-only primary where he has a one-on-one shot against Orange. Alternately, though much less likely, the Ward 4 resident could challenge incumbent Muriel Bowser (D).
But Biddle, in an interview, said he had no immediate plans to run for office. “It is something I’ve been planning to do for a while,” he said of his resignation. “This was a good sort of natural transition out. My time on the council opened my eyes to some other things I’d like to pursue.”
He declined to detail those things aside from calling them “different things that could be helpful to the city. ... My commitment to serving the city hasn’t changed.”
At least one of Biddle’s former colleagues said he’d welcome a new Biddle candidacy. “I think that he’s an upstanding guy, and I thought he did a good job,” said Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who added that he thought Biddle was “caught up unfairly” in the city’s political controversies earlier this year.
Jumpstart’s new executive director is Katey Comerford, who served as interim executive director during Biddle’s council run.