Vincent Orange (D) will likely be the next at-large D.C. councilman after beating eight other candidates, of whom only Republican Patrick Mara came close in numbers during the special elections on April 26.
With more than 55,000 voters at the polls, Orange raked in a little more than 28 percent of the votes, with Mara, the only Republican candidate, trailing with about 26 percent, according to an early count. Speculators thought there would be a close run between Orange and interim at-large Councilman Sekou Biddle, who came in third with about 20 percent of votes.
"Overall, I think it was a great city-wide campaign for team Orange," Orange told the AFRO. "It was one of jubilation."
Orange said that his team's universal campaign efforts, along with strong local support from citizens, contributed to his overall victory.
"The majority of people that voted were validating what direction I wanted to go in," he said. "A number of other candidates just campaigned [in] certain wards, certain areas. Our efforts were beyond that."
The SEIU MD/DC State Council, who has openly supported Biddle, sent out a congratulatory statement to Vincent Orange, asking him to fight for transparency and pay attention to contracts.
“We congratulate Vincent Orange on his victory and call on him to join the Council’s effort to end an era of scandals by expanding transparency,” the statement said. “Now more than ever, DC should restore prosperity to working families by ensuring that our tax dollars only create good jobs.”
Orange, a lawyer and certified accountant who previously represented Ward 5 on the Council for two terms, campaigned primarily in Wards 4, 5, 7, 8, pulling Black voters, whom analysts said would not come to the polls.
The at-large candidate told the AFRO that he has one main objective should he become the councilman. “My main goal is to balance the budget and create jobs,” he said in a previous interview.
“He is well-loved in this city. He’s someone that we feel has an interest of the city…and we need people like that,” said Gary Clark, a poll worker and campaign member for Orange.
In the lead-up to the contest, Biddle appeared to be at the top, picking up endorsements from Mayor Vincent Gray (D), Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and the SEIU MD/DC, which sent mail to 33,000 likely voters on April 5, coughing up $65,000 on his behalf. Still, it seemed Biddle was not able to convince D.C. residents.
The Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO endorsed Orange, along with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
The DC Board of Elections still has to wait for mail-in ballots.