by Borderstan.com April 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm 1,282 1 Comment

"Borderstan""Biddle-Orange""Council Race"

Biddle  versus Orange not over: Sing? The fat lady hasn’t even gone on stage yet. (Luis Gomez Photos)

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

It’s still undecided. Sekou Biddle trails incumbent Vincent Orange in the Tuesday vote for the Democratic nomination for At-Large DC Council seat by just 543 votes. But as noted on Wednesday, the race is not over.

In addition to at several thousand absentee ballots, there are also several thousand provisional ballots to be counted, according to WAMU — and a recount after the votes have all be counted is a real possibility. It will all be decided (barring a recount) when absentee and provisional (special ballots cast on election day) are tallied on April 13. The Washington City Paper reported Wednesday that there are more than 3,800 absentee ballots.

According to CBS DC, “The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics says 3,348 Democrats requested absentee ballots. So far, 1,554 have been returned. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday.

Given the dismal turnout (less than 16% of the populace turned out), any small edge or blurry edges between candidates becomes incredibly important. Biddle actually leads in five of the city’s eight wards — 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Orange, though, ran up larger margins in Wards 5, 7 and 8 over Biddle. In the Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods, Biddle ran very strong, with large wins in almost all are preincints.

Given the margin of victory here, it seems unlikely that any first ‘official’ decision will be deemed official by any of the candidates. I’m predicting a recount.

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by Borderstan.com April 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,410 1 Comment

From Matty Rhoades. Email him at matty[AT]borderstan.com.

The one contested race for residents of Dupont-Logan-U Street in yesterday’s primary election was the Democratic nomination for an At-Large Council seat. After all 143 of DC’s precincts reported in last night, incumbent Vincent Orange holds a 543 vote lead over Sekou Biddle, according to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics (DCBOEE) — but absentee and provisional ballots have to be counted on April 13. It was a rematch of last year’s special election to fill the seat. Citywide, Biddle leads in Wards 1, 2, 3 4 and 6, but Orange holds the lead due to high support in Wards 5, 7 and 8. Locally, however, Biddle won big in most precincts in the Borderstan area.

Luis, Gomez, Photos, Black, Cat,

The Dem nomination for an At-Large Council seat is still undecided as of Wednesday morning. (Luis Gomez Photos)

In the Ward 2 race, incumbent Democrat Jack Evans had no opponent for the Democratic nomination; there were no candidates running in the GOP Primary to face Evans in the November 6 general election. Evans got 80% of the vote yesterday, while 12% did not vote in the race (counted as Under Votes) and 7% were Write In votes.

Turnout was very light, with about 15% of city voters going to the polls Tuesday.

Biddle vs. Orange

As of this morning, the DC count for the At-Large Dem nomination is:

  • Vincent Orange: 21,237 votes, 39.77%
  • Sekou Biddle: 20,694, 38.75%
  • Peter Shapiro: 5616, 10.51%
  • E. Gail Anderson Holness: 3,873 votes, 7.25%
  • Under Votes (blank ballot): 1,614 votes, 3.02%
  • Write In: 335 votes, 0.62%

1,700 Absentee, Provisional Ballots Outstanding

According to The Washington Post, there are about 1,700 absentee and provisional ballots to be counted before a winner in the race can be determined; those votes will be counted April 13. However, with such few outstanding ballots to be counted, Biddle would have to win a big chunk of them to overtake Orange. The question is, what part of the city are the absentee and provisional ballots concentrated? Are they spread evenly across DC precincts, or are they concentrated in Orange or Biddle  strongholds. But with only 1,700 votes to be counted, Biddle would have to win a huge percentage of them to overtake Orange.

Biddle Wins Most Local Precincts

Who did voters in the Dupont-Logan-U Street and surrounding areas support compared to the rest of the city? In 14 local precincts in Wards 1, 2 and 6, Biddle leads in 12 of them. (Two Logan-Shaw precincts, 18 and 21, were formerly in Ward 2 before being moved to Ward 6 following redistricting after the 2010 Census). The results for the 14 selected precincts are in the table below; Biddle leads in 12 and Orange in the 2 Shaw precincts. DCBOEE has maps of precincts.

Democratic Nomination for At-Large DC Council Seat

Precinct  / Ward Sekou Biddle E. Gail Holness Anderson Vincent Orange Peter Shapiro Write In Under Vote
4 / W2 59% 2% 9% 28% 1% 1%
13 / W 2 66% 3% 8% 21% <1% 1%
14 / W2 64% 4% 7% 24% <1% 1%
15 / W2 68% 4% 8% 18% 0% 2%
16 / W2 66% 3%  15% 15% 0% 2%
17 / W2 555 6% 19% 16% <1%  3%
18 / W6  32% 9%  46%  11%  <1% 1%
21 / W6  31% 8% 41% 14%  2% 3%
22 / W1  60%  5% 22% 11% 1%  <1%
23 / W1 48% 7% 31% 12% 0% 2%
24 / W1 61% 3% 20% 14% 1% 0%
25 / W1 75% 3% 6% 15% 0% 1%
137 / W1 52% 5%  31% 10% 1%  2%
141 / W2  68% 3% 11% 14% 1%  2%
  • 4 – West End Public Library, 1101 24th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 13 -Our Lady of the Americas, 2200 California Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 14 – St. Thomas Episcopal Church Parish, 1772 Church Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 15 – Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 16 – Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church, 1701 15th Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 17 – Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street NW (Ward 2)
  • 18 – Kennedy Recreation Center 1407 7th Street NW (Ward 6)
  • 21 – Shaw Library, 1630 7th Street NW (Ward 6)
  • 22 – Garnet-Patterson Jr. High School, 2001 10th Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 23 – LOUGHRAN COMMUNITY CENTER, 2500 14th Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 24 – Marie Reed Learning Center, 2200 Champlain Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 25 – Goodwill Baptist Church, 1862 Kalorama Road NW (Ward 1)
  • 137 – Garrison Elementary School, 1200 S Street NW (Ward 1)
  • 141 – Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center, 2000 14th Street NW (Ward 2)

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by Borderstan.com March 14, 2012 at 3:05 pm 1,725 1 Comment

"Borderstan", DC, Democratic, Primary, April, 3, primary, Black, Cat

At-Large DC Council candidates on March 13 at the Black Cat. From left: Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness, Peter Shapiro and Vincent Orange. Moderator David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington is at far right. (Matty Rhoades)

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

Crowds converged on the 1800 block of 14th Street NW as unseasonably warm weather brought local residents out in force last evening. Part of the crowd was in front of The Black Cat, site of last night’s forum for the four candidates running in the Democratic Primary for an At-Large Council seat.

David Alpert, founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington, moderated the forum. For fans of local politics, the complete video of the forum (58 minutes) may be viewed at Greater Greater Washington, as well as Alpert’s wrap up.

Some familiar names were on the dais at the popular music hall in the heart of the booming 14th Street corridor. Trying to hold the seat he won during last year’s special election was At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange. Back for another round Sekou Biddle, who briefly held the seat when he was voted in by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve as interim At-Large member until last year’s special election was held (which he lost to Orange).

Another candidate lives in the area: Advisory Neighborhood Commission E. Gail Anderson Holness (ANC 1B-11). Rounding out the slate of Democratic candidates was Peter Shapiro,a former Prince George’s County Council member and now a resident of Ward 4.

David Alpert organized the forum around asking specific candidates a question. The candidate was then allowed one minute to respond, after which the others each had 30 seconds to comment. The topics ranged from opinions on same-sex marriage and affordable housing to transportation and education.

Highlights from the Forum

  • E. Gail Anderson Holness stressed several times during the evening that she is the only candidate who has not accepted corporate contributions – “unbought and unbossed” she declared. Her other rallying cry was “second on the ballot, second to none.”
  • Sekou Biddle knows his way around DC. During a candidate poll on transportation, Biddle was able to rattle off the bus line numbers he used as a child in Columbia Heights as well as the familiar S2, S4 and S9 lines that runs down 16th street through the heart of Borderstan.
  • Peter Shapiro focused his responses on the ethics investigations that have plagued the current administration and Council since last fall. Shapiro sees a broken system where the Council is sidelined, and not getting to work on issues such as job creation and economic development.
  • Vincent Orange, after being called on the carpet by David Alpert, offered an apology for his car blocking the 15th Street NW bike lane on New Year’s Day. He added that it was not his intent to block the lane and that education is key in diffusing tension between drivers and the growing number of cyclists on city streets. Orange said he his platform is the “4 E’s –ethics, education, employment, economic development.

Schools, Amenities, Metro, Corporate Contributions

  • Role of Council in oversight of DC Public Schools: The candidates were asked about the proper role of the DC Council in terms of oversight of the DC Public Schools — and whether there was too much meddling into the powers given to the schools chancellor. Orange said it had to be a “partnership,” while Biddle said it was the Council’s role to simply set policy and provide oversight. Shapiro called for a special Council Education Committee and said the Council needs to “take its oversight role seriously.”
  • Neighborhood diversity and amenities: All four candidates, not surprisingly, praised the diversity, walkability and services of neighborhoods such as those in Wards 1 and 2. Shapiro made an interesting observation later when asked about affordable housing — he noted that too many neighborhoods in outer areas of DC do not have walkable retail (one the strong points of the Dupont-Logan-U Street area). “Many areas that are affordable lack amenities,” Biddle said.
  • Last time you were on Metro: The candidates were asked about the last time they had used Metro — an important form of transportation in Dupont-Logan-U Street. Holness said she uses Metro almost every day, Biddle said it was “in the last 2 to 3 weeks,” Orange said “recently” and Shapiro answered “last week.”
  • Ban corporate contributions: All four candidates said they are in favor of banning corporate contributions to DC political candidates. Orange also supports banning councilmembers from having outside jobs while serving on the Council.

The Democratic primary is April 3 — DC primaries are usually in September. The winner of the primary will face candidates from the Republican and Statehood Green parties in the November general election.

Sponsors of the forum were The Urban Neighborhood Alliance, which coordinated the event, along with Borderstan.com, Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Dupont Circle Merchants And Professionals Association, Dupont Circle Village, Dupont Festival, Greater Greater Washington, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Logan Circle Community Association, Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association.

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by Borderstan.com March 12, 2012 at 9:00 am 1,385 0

DC, Council, Wilson, Building

The DC Council is based at the Wilson Building, 14th and Pennsylvania NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Neighborhood residents are invited to attend a community forum for the candidates for the At-Large Democratic Primary on Tuesday, March 13 from 7 to 8 pm at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW. Doors open at 6:30; ID required.

Participating candidates include Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness, Vincent Orange and Peter Shapiro.

The At-Large seat up for grabs is currently held by Vincent Orange (D). Thirteen Members make up the DC Council: a representative elected from each of the eight wards and five members, including the chairman, who are elected at-large.

If it seems to you like Orange just took office, you are right. He won a special election back in April 2011 to fill the remainder of the At-Large term that became vacant when Kwame Brown was elected Chairman in November 2010.

Biddle briefly held the seat when he was voted in by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve as interim At-Large member until a special election could be held. Anderson Holness currently is an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 1. Shapiro lives in Ward 4 and had previously served on the Prince George’s County Council when he was a resident of Maryland.

What Would You Ask?

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington will be moderating the candidate forum, and he had a story last week asking readers what they would ask the candidates. If you have questions you want answered, submit them to David Alpert directly or in the comments on his piece. A brief reception will follow at Cafe Saint-Ex, 14th and T Streets NW. If the last time around (the March 2010 candidate forum at the Church of the Holy City) is any indication, most candidates will show up to the post-forum event. It’s a great time to get the real answers to your less politically correct questions.

Sponsors of the forum are The Urban Neighborhood Alliance, Borderstan.com, Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Dupont Circle Merchants And Professionals Association, Dupont Circle Village, Dupont Festival, Greater Greater Washington, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Logan Circle Community Association, Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association.

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by Borderstan.com February 23, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,528 0

From Tom Hay. Questions for Tom? Send him an email Tom[AT]borderstan.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Tomonswann.

After extensive media focus on the Republican Presidential primaries over the past few months, it is time to turn our attention to the DC primary scheduled for April 3, 2012. In addition to selecting their presidential preference based on party affiliation, DC voters will also be asked to choose their party nominee for November general election for an At-Large Council seat. The same is true for the four wards where seats are up this year, including Ward 2. DC’s primary is early this year — it’s usually held in September.

"Borderstan" "Black Cat"

Forum for Dem candidates in At-Large Race at the Black Cat on March 13. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Candidate Forum on March 13

Neighborhood residents are invited to attend a community forum for the candidates in the for the At-Large Democratic Primary on Tuesday, March 13 from 7 to 8 pm at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW. Doors open at 6:30; ID required.

The forum will be moderated by David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington. Sponsors of the forum are The Urban Neighborhood Alliance, Borderstan.com, Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission, Dupont Circle Citizens Association, Dupont Circle Merchants And Professionals Association, Dupont Circle Village, Dupont Festival, Greater Greater Washington, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, Logan Circle Community Association, Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association.

Orange and Biddle, Again

The At-Large seat up for grabs is currently held by Vincent Orange (D). Thirteen Members make up the DC Council: a representative elected from each of the eight wards; and five members, including the Chairman, elected at-large.

If it seems to you like Orange just took office, you are right. He won a special election back in April 2011 to fill the remainder of the At-Large term that became vacant when Kwame Brown was elected Chairman in November 2010.

With a crowded field of Democrats running for the seat (there was no primary), Orange defeated Republican Patrick Mara. The upcoming race will be for a full four-year term. Orange will face opposition from E. Gail Anderson Holness, Peter Shapiro and Sekou Biddle.

Biddle briefly held the seat when he was voted in by the DC Democratic State Committee to serve as interim At-Large member until a special election could be held. Anderson Holness currently is an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 1. Shapiro lives in Ward 4 and had previously served on the Prince George’s County Council when he was a resident of Maryland.

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