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Orange, Grosso Win At-Large D.C. Council Seats

James Wright | 11/7/2012, 9:46 a.m.

In the at-large races for D.C. Council on Nov. 6, District voters returned a veteran council member while sending a newcomer to the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest. District voters also re-elected their delegate to the United States House of Representatives.

D.C. Council member Vincent Orange [D-At Large] easily won re-election while his colleague, D.C. Council member Michael Brown [I-At Large), lost to political newcomer David Grosso. Orange said that he's happy to return to work for District residents.

"I knew that I had an edge in this election because I am the Democratic nominee in a predominantly Democratic city," said Orange, 55. "Since I was sent back to the council, I have worked on issues such as early childhood education, the 150th celebration of Emancipation Day and hosting a small business summit. I will continue to fight for education, employment, economic development and access to health care."

Orange received 37 percent of the vote in a city that favors Democrats by a 9 to 1 margin. Grosso, 41, came in second with nearly 20 percent of the vote while Brown only netted 15 percent.

Republican Mary Brooks Beatty came in fourth with 7 percent while independents A.J. Cooper and Leon Swain dueled with 6.16 percent and 6.12 percent, respectively. Statehood Green candidate Ann Wilcox had 5.8 percent.

The turnout was strong, with nearly 49 percent of registered voters participating in the election. Some polling places had dozens of residents waiting to vote as the 8 p.m. deadline closed in but by law, if a resident is in line at the time, they must be allowed to cast a ballot.

The city also had thousands of residents participate in early voting from Oct. 29-Nov. 3.

Brown had a real fight on his hands with Grosso, who outraised him in October nearly 2-1. Despite that, Brown got many votes based on name recognition and that's why Tracey Valentine, a resident of Northeast, voted for him and Orange.

"I have worked with Vincent Orange on some programs," said Valentine, 42. "I must admit that I don't know much about Michael Brown but I do recognize the name."

Brown, 46, has been under fire recently for the mismanagement of his personal finances and issues in his personal life. Seeking a second full-term, he sought to assure District voters that he was the best person to bring economic development and affordable housing to residents, especially those east of the Anacostia River.

However, Brown, the son of Ronald Brown, the first black to be appointed as the secretary of commerce, received negative media coverage for his personal and financial problems. Brown is a popular figure in many black social circles and is usually seen in the black community at prominent political and social events.

He did well in the predominantly black wards of 5, 7 and 8, often coming in second to Orange in votes.

But it was residents in western Washington and parts of Capitol Hill in Northeast and Southeast, many of whom were White, who voted for Grosso in huge numbers.