Loose Lips

Rallying Around Biddle

Tim Craig over at the Post breaks the news that new Mayor Vince Gray is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for new at-large Councilmember (and subject of LL's column this week) Sekou Biddle.

A Gray endorsement would be huge for Biddle, who is looking to cement himself as the frontrunner in what could be a very crowded field. As a new mayor who is happily ensconced in his honeymoon cocoon, Gray's got the most juice of any elected official right now and a friendly word from him would make Biddle's life a lot easier. And Gray probably has little interest in seeing Republican Pat Mara take a seat with the help of a heavily-fractured Democratic vote in the April special election.

So far Gray's been mum on who he's going to support, but his campaign and transition chairwoman Lorraine Green is already supporting Biddle, and several councilmembers who are on Team Gray (Chair Kwame Brown, Mary Cheh, Harry Thomas Jr. and Marion Barry) are Biddle-supporters.

But what really interests LL is the fact that one of the District's best-paid lobbyist, David Wilmot, is one of the hosts of tonight's fundraiser. Wilmot, whose problems at his second gig as a beloved group home leader have been well-documented in this blog, is no fool and it's no surprise that he's backing a candidate that has the support of many elected officials.

But while Biddle might welcome the kind of money one of the city's biggest lobbyists can rustle up, his association with Wilmot also strengthens the narrative that Biddle is the insiders' candidate. The other candidates in the at-large race are currently busy trying to establish their own identities, but expect them to start trying to tie Biddle to the shortcomings of his politically connected supporters as the race heats up.

  • Biddler

    Sekou Biddle isn't an insider. He is a puppet.

  • dbrighthaupt

    @ Biddler - Ditto.

    Riddle me this: Will Biddle vote on anything in the next 60+ days? Will he vote with Kwame-and'em? Vote based on his staff's research & analysis / his conscience? Will he vote, or will he refrain from voting all together so those paying attention won't dissect that little skit they act justifying their vote before the cameras?

    My penny is on the latter.

  • Skipper

    I like Biddle and think he means well.

    But it's pretty clear he's going to be a puppet candidate and won't bite the hand that feeds him and gave him a job.

    His association with Wilmot is sad and just cost Biddle my vote.

  • James

    I really wanted to vote for Biddle, I think he has a noble purpose. But while I can't blame Biddle for the people that choose to support him (Brown, Barry, Thomas, Wilmont), I can hold him accountable for giving into their influence. Biddle had a golden opportunity to give some sort of acknowledgment to the crooked process by which he was appointed to the Council. But instead, Biddle chose to defend the process and dismiss those with concerns as "just talk." I'm terribly disappointed.

  • WARD411

    BIDDLE IS LIKE A CRACKHEAD RIGHT NOW...HE WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN....AND THAT IS SAD!

  • Jose

    Ward411 and all the other non-substance haters -- you must not be from Ward 4. Sekou Biddle is an extremely competent and honest Councilmember. If you don't know something about someone, don't say anything; otherwise, you'll just sound ignorant and foolish.

    Yes, he is supported by the candidates the people chose in november, but make no mistake about it Sekou is his own man. Look at his history from Jumpstart to the Board of Education and make an EDUCATED choice, don't just spit out the first thing that comes to mind. There is no better candidate running than him. Lopez = juvenile, Mara = Republican, Orange = please.

  • Ward 4 In Action

    Jose

    Stop sipping the Kool-Aid. Why don't you explain what is Jumpstart? I have lived in Ward 4 for 11 years and have school age children, he has done NOTHING on the school board? Just because you hold a position does not make you competent. Performance is what matters not just showing up!

    There are much better candidates!

    ....Biddle=Puppet

  • michaeliceman

    Biddle is doing what politicians have been doing since ancient Rome....riding the coattails of a successful candidate. Like it or not, Gray's star is white-hot (no pun intended) right now and Biddle would be a fool not to hitch his wagon to the Team Gray machine...at least until the special election.

    Politics for Dummies Rule number 201 - Make sure you get elected before you try to prove that you are your own man.

  • Really?

    So for all those saying that he would be a puppet..did you feel the same about Bowser, Catania, Evans and Graham during the Fenty administration?

  • WDCPoliticalHack

    @Really
    Obviously Bowser was Fenty's lapdog. I can't believe that is even up for discussion. Evans & Graham have turned into consumate politicians: leaning whichever way the wind blows for whomever may be in the EOM. David Catania has been known to rain hell on anyone at anytime, so he really shouldn't be lumped into this conversation.

    What I don't understand is why Gray would get involved in this craziness. I figured him to be more politically savvy than this. The fact is that Biddle doesn't have a base. Most people in W4 don't know him to well, and the vote West of the park will be chopped up among, Weaver, Mara, Dickson & Candon. I struggle to see a scenario in which Biddle pulls a victory. Why put your political capital on the line for a weak candidate?

  • Really?

    @WDCPoliticalHack

    You are correct about Evans and Graham. I can't stop thinking about the ad he did for Fenty during the campaign.

    Now Catania (the later yrs) has changed to go with the flow as long as it's what he wants. I haven't see the Catania (in the early yrs) who took everyone to task in a long time.

    I agree with about Biddle and I have my reservations about him. But I haven't ruled him out.

    But Weaver and Mara are only known in Wards 1 and 2 and thus my split the vote as you indicated. The chances of getting votes east of the river are next to nil for them. If Sekou can pull a significant number or really get more of these voters out then I believe he may win.

    Lastly, folks need to keep in mind that this may not be the only change that we see with this council. When the DC voters are able to vote for an AG the mostly likely person to run for that seat is Mr. Catania himself, thus another special election.

  • J.S.

    Ward 4 in action - Don't be lazy, Google Jumpstart and see what a true leader Biddle is.

    Political Hack - If you think the Gray machine is not going back into full force to get tons of votes east of the park, you are nuts!

  • DC Voter

    Mara is not David Catania. Mara defeated Schwartz in the GOP primary; lost badly in the general election; and still has negative feelings from Schwartz supporters. He is not a likeable candidate nor one who can win cross over votes needed to win. Catania ran against an inept and out of date Arrington Dixon in a low turn out election. Dixon didn't have the support of the DC Democratic State Committee members even though they selected him for the position and many DCDSC members quietly supported Catania.

    Looks like the Democrats will elect either a Kwame and Marshall Brown puppet or a repackaged Vincent Orange

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  • WDCPoliticalHack

    @ J.S. - But Biddle the candidate doesn't have any appeal east of the park and DEFINITELY not east of the river. His biggest support pool is among white voters west of the park and I see that vote divided amond Candon (W3), Dickson (W2), Weaver (W1) and Mara (W1) who will also pull Indep & Rep votes. On top of that I don't know how well that west of the park contingent will come out for Biddle being that he has been embraced by Barry, Kwame, Gray & Thomas, not popular politicos west of the park.

    And people lest you forget, Mara defeated Democratic incumbent Dottie Love-Wade in the W1 School Board race even though she was backed by W1 CM Jim Graham in 2010. He ran city-wide to beat Carol Schwartz in the GOP primary in 2008 and ran again in the General Election in 2008. So he has been pretty much running continuously since 2008 AND HE GOT THE WASH POST ENDORSEMENT IN EVERY RACE HE'S RUN IN! If Mara gets that endorsement this convo is over and the Post would love nothing better than to stick it to Kwame, Gray, Barry & Thomas for defeating on their chosen one, Adrian Fenty. I'm calling this race for Mara early.

  • WDCPoliticalHack

    Please forgive my spelling errors (among) & (defeating their chosen one).

  • WARD411

    Really I have lived in ward 4 all of my life and put my children through schools in ward 4...don't recall seeing Biddle NOWHERE!

  • Truth Hurts

    Thomas, Wilmot, Barry, Brown, and Gray?

    Wouldn't trust this crew with my car keys.

  • Js

    The Post endorsements have become irrelevant (Debonis isnt even part of the committee!). They where wrong across the board and couldnt even stick it to Mendo in their strange unendorsement (probably hoping MD Brown would win!).

    This race will come down to in a huge part to hitting the streets and even though Mara was good in Ward 1 for ed board, he does not have the machine to run District wide - Gray n Kwame do! Besides those votes will be split between the pols u mentioned plus Orange n Brown. My money is on Biddle 100%.

  • Js

    Meant to say orange n lopez! Sorry..

  • Ward 4 In Action

    @J.S.- Googled Jumpstart, tried to find the evidence of "the true leader" that you say Biddle is supposed to be. Ok, I sawed that he is The ED for DC. Ok, he is employable. Looks like a one trick pony that would be good at DCPS central office, not an at large council member! Did your kids use or benefit from JS? Do you work there? On the board?

    I did see the names on the local advisory board, a lot of the same names that have posted on this blog and other blogs. No evidence of "true leadership" but I guess its good to see people that work with/for him support him. That does NOT mean he is what is best for DC!!

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