Special Election Sends Signal
The status quo on the Council is unacceptable, and political party has nothing to do with it.
Let me be the first to apologize for calling Patrick Mara a Republican. True, the dreaded “R” word may have held him back in the end from winning Tuesday’s special election, but he came awfully close. Mara’s campaign caused many D.C. voters, even the left-leaning variety, to show a collective hand. Just because you’re a Democrat doesn’t mean you deserve my vote.
Go ahead, let the shock sink in. The GOP had a strong showing in this election, partly because there were many liberal, progressive voters who chose Mara. These are the same voters who swear by the Washington Post. These are the same voters who traditionally vote Democrat. Oh the horror!
Mara nearly matched Vincent Orange because of the support he received from voters in areas like Capitol Hill, Georgetown and upper Northwest. In this case, upper Northwest means west of Rock Creek, as Orange took much of Ward 4. Mara also got a huge helping hand in the form of a mailer campaign funded by Bud’s PAC. He campaigned on the promise of being an ethics changer, someone who could usher in a new era of accountability. Mara, at the very least, would have represented some parity on the Council. That resonated with voters in this particular election.
Bryan Weaver’s campaign had a similar ring to Mara’s. He promised to rewrite the city’s ethics rules. Weaver, however, suffered from the lack of strong support. Sekou Biddle was probably hurt because he was already on the Council. Having Vincent Gray and Kwame Brown campaign for him didn't help.
As for the victor, Vincent Orange, he would tell you his election to the Council sends a clear signal that the residents of the District of Columbia reject the current leadership. He would also tell you that he brings experience. Speaking with Orange on election day, he came across so cool and confident that he was already looking forward to the victory party, which he admitted was a typical thing to say for a politician.
The fact is, Orange was not elected because residents believe he’ll bring about change. He was elected because he’s well known, and he ran a strong campaign. That’s what a seasoned politician does.
Just like a seasoned politician, he took advantage of a large field of candidates which sliced up the vote nicely, ultimately allowing the man with the most name recognition to hold on for the win. But Vincent Orange had better watch his job, and watch it close. He has one year to get it right.
Many D.C. Democrats would shudder at the thought of voting for a Republican, and they probably wouldn’t admit it in public. As for this voter, it doesn’t matter if you're Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. Whichever. Do your job and walk a straight path. We’re all watching.