City's Political Status Quo Remains Unchanged

Barrington M. Salmon | 4/4/2012, 11:24 a.m.

District residents went to the polls Tuesday, April 3, in an election that featured low voter turnout and no major surprises.

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) survived a scare from former D.C. Council member Sekou Biddle to get the Democratic Party nomination for one of the two at-large seats in November. Unofficial results had Orange at 39 percent with Biddle at 38 percent and Peter Shapiro and E. Gail Anderson Holness, at 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Orange, 54, defeated Biddle last April for the at-large seat to replace Kwame Brown, who was elected D.C. Council Chairman in November 2010.

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) was re-nominated easily to represent her ward at the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest. She defeated five opponents, Renee Bowser (no relation), Judi Jones, Max Skolnik, Baruti Jahi and Calvin Gurley, getting 65 percent of the vote. Bowser has no formal Republican opposition at this point

Bowser, 39, is viewed by some political observers as a possible 2014 mayoral candidate.

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) won re-nomination because he had no opponents.

The status quo for Ward 7 and Ward 8 remained unchanged as both incumbents - Council members Yvette Alexander and Marion Barry retained their seats by comfortable margins.

Alexander, however, emerged victorious after a contentious and bruising battle where contender Tom Brown gained momentum and notable endorsements from business, labor and several of the city's most prominent news publications during the course of the campaign.

"I'm tired. I feel really good but I feel like I was in a 12-round boxing match, but we ended victorious" said Alexander as she slumped into a chair at The Chateaux to savor a meal as well as her hard-earned victory. "I need a good night's sleep. I'm going away to an undisclosed location for a couple of days and then it's back to work."

Late Tuesday, election results indicated that Alexander won by a two-to-one margin, 43 percent to 21 percent.

Dozens of jubilant supporters clad in white Alexander campaign T-shirts laughed and joked and danced well into the night at the establishment which is located on Benning Road in Northeast.

A procession of political heavyweights such as Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), and Kwame Brown (D), as well as Ward 5 hopeful Delano Hunter and Ward 7 GOP candidate Ron Moten, who will represent his party in the November elections, came to offer their congratulations.

Just over the bridge, off Minnesota Avenue, Tom Brown and a melange of animated, vociferous and clearly excited supporters watched early returns on a large television at Ray's The Steak.

The diverse crowd felt victory at hand and reveled in the prospect of unseating Alexander.

"I've been a Brown supporter for about a year. He has the credibility, respectability and the honesty - all the things we want in a representative," said longtime Ward 7 resident Jeri Washington whose face bore the telltale marks of a day spent in the sun. "His work and work ethic would make him a perfect representative. He's proven that he's a diamond that cuts all other stones."