Biddle wins at-large council seat

Sekou Biddle, Ward 4 member of the DC State Board of Education, won the at-large DC Council seat vacated by Kwame Brown during a heated selection process Thursday.

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Sekou Biddle watches the vote tallies for the vacated at-large seat for D.C. City Council, which he won on the third ballot. (Photo: TBD Staff)

Biddle triumphed over six candidates, including former DC councilman Vincent Orange, who had been viewed as the front runner because he is a member of the Democratic State Committee that decided the contest.

UPDATE: Read about the online reaction to the appointment

"I can't think of a better way to continue my calling in education than being on the Council," said Biddle in a statement. "This is truly an honor and I'm anxious to go to work for District residents. I'm looking forward to speaking with residents and earning their vote in the election this spring."

Biddle won 40 to 31 on the third round of balloting.

Biddle's Council bid seemed to catch fire in recent days, thanks in part to the endorsement he received from Brown, who was elected chairman in November. Brown worked the room Thursday on Biddle's behalf. Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr. (Ward 5), Tommy Wells (Ward 6) and Marion Barry (Ward 8) lent support as well.

Biddle serves as the executive director of a nonprofit that helps kids prepare for elementary school.

He will hold the seat until an April 26 special election. The winner of that race will serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Balloting was held at DNC headquarters on Capitol Hill. The meeting was a standing-room-only and chaotic affair, with party leaders having to shout to be heard and straining to maintain control.

With each round of voting, ballots would be pulled individually from a box, read aloud and held aloft for inspection.

In between rounds, candidates scurried around the room trying to pick off some their opponents' supporters.

Orange offered a gracious speech after his defeat.

"This was politics at its finest," he said. "At the of the day, we should be one big family... And you have not seen the last of Vincent Orange."

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