Loose Lips

Vincent Orange: “This Is About Us Coming Together As a People”

Like his challenger a few miles away, At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange had the semi-awkward task last night of giving an election-night speech with the final outcome of his race uncertain.

With all the precincts counted, Orange has a 543-vote lead over Sekou Biddle, which will very likely be enough to carry him through the tallies of the absentee and provisional ballots. But the closeness of the race led to a pretty subdued speech by Orange last night at his party at the San Antonio Bar & Grill, especially compared to the much more boisterous spiel he gave last year at the same restaurant.

Early in his speech, Orange seemed almost hurt that questions of his integrity became a campaign talking point, and tried to distance himself from the transgressions and alleged trangressions of his elected colleagues.

"I've only been back nine months," Orange said. "Most of the stuff that's been investigated predates me. I have nothing to do with that."

Orange has been dragged over the coals by the Washington Post editorial board in recent weeks for his ties to Jeffrey Thompson, the Medicaid contractor whose home and offices were recently raided by the feds. Orange is one of the largest recipients of Thompson's campaign contributions, including several money order donations that Orange himself says are "suspicious."

Orange then touted his record of "brining people together" and pointed out that there were supporters at his party from every ward in the city.

"This is about us coming together as a people, this is about all the wards," Orange said.

Of course, the vote totals tell a very different, and familiar story. Just like the 2010 mayoral election, last night's contest shows a city starkly divided along racial lines. Orange's almost-victory came thanks to the lopsided support of African-American voters in wards 5, 7, and 8. In Ward 8, for instance, Orange won 4,021 votes to Biddle's 768.

West of Rock Creek Park, in areas with mostly white voters, Biddle was the big winner. In Ward 3, for instance, Biddle won 71 percent compared to Orange's anemic 6 percent. Biddle's native Ward 4, the District's swing district, split close to evenly.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Alamo Sweets

    The fact that Biddle only won his ward by a slim margin is a major concern.

    I expected Biddle to win Ward 3 because Mary Cheh has always expressed her dislike in Orange.

  • Race Matters

    Vincent Orange is an ugly fat bull frog troll. I threw up once I found he won the election. I would have rather seen Herman Munster win instead.

  • Why Lie I Need A Beer

    @Race rather take the frog troll then the face of Biddle, only a mother can love that face!

  • Constantly Surprised (AGAIN)

    Well, I think that the suggestion that Orange's conduct as a Council member has been influenced by his fundraising is just not borne-out by his record.

    A lot us believe that Orange's statements, votes, and demeanor really wasn't treated fairly by the CP, WP, Examiner, etc.

    Mr. Biddle really has no record, little experience, and not much except his "Fenty" days. The relationships with favored Fenty's associates and vendors really should have been the subject of much more scrutiny.

  • http://twitter.com/monkeyrotica monkeyrotica

    “This Is About Us Coming Together As a People”

    As opposed to coming together as...what? Human centipedes?

  • JTE

    So, Constantly Surprised (Again), it's okay to accept donations from one man and one company through money orders well in excess of the amount allowable for one person and one company? Regardless of your naive and rosy statement that his votes and council record don't support Thompson, that in and of itself is wrong. Face it, Orange is corrupt, but appealing to race and class and victimization worked with JUST enough voters. Shame on those voters and shame on the ones that stayed home and let this happen.

    And we all know this: Thompson has Orange in his pocket any time he needs him for a crucial tiebreaking vote. That's what matters.

    This is all obvious corruption.

  • Mr. Remember

    If you want a good "one" then have sex with a ugly person. Because they will know how to appreciate it.

  • Barrie Daneker

    @JTE--Please you don't know shit! If we end corporate donations then PAC's will form and do the same thing, take corporate money with no limits whatsoever and do the same thing with the funds. So your point is??? Oh that right your so clueless about politics that you don't have a valid point! It's completely apparent that you have your head in your ass! So do us all a favor and save it for some who actually thinks you might know something! Oh yeah that's right your a progressive!

  • JTE

    Barrie: There's a rule limiting what a person and a company can give. He and Thompson broke it. Together. VO admitted it. The rest of your spew is ad hominem attacks.

  • Constantly Surprised

    Frankly, it's legal to accept money from multiple organizations (as long as they are distinct). Some may not like it, but it's legal. If they are subsidiaries (not affiliates), then it's questionable.

    But Orange doesn't vote on maters affecting Charter like that. In fact, the reimbursements of Chartered are really governed by Medicad (Federal standards) and DC Administration. Other than "oversight", the Council really wasn't in the chain of decsions.

    The issue with these fund raisings is that they weren't disclosed and didn't comply with the independant expenditures of the PAC. Those requirements, based on Federal Court rulings would have pretty-much allowed for all of that funding if someone had the sense to go through that process. It would appear, from press reports, that they didn't do that; and, therefore would have been a violation of law.

    But to suggest that Orange is Thompson's "pocket" just isn't functionally so or material.

    Do you think that Perry (from Texas) and Adelman (from Las Vegas) are simply spending money to have a Republican candidate in their "pocket"? I think it's more complex than that. It involves "power" and some "rightous" sense, it is threatening in a Ludlemesque way, but it's not so "simple" as a quid-pro-quo.

    Orange, was running precisely against the Brown-Gray chosen candidate when he ran for Council. If you believe that Gray was "tied" to Gray and Thompson, then why would you believe that Thompson would simply support Orange to "cross" them?

    Thompson's participation in the process appears to me to be much more complex. It's not simply driven by economics -- it's not focused that way. The pattern sppears to be one of being a political junckie who has the resources to "play".

    Orange, and other candidates, have to have a way of getting their message out. They aren't buying votes or getting the cemetary majorities (as in old Georgia and Chicago).

    If you think that the Council's votes have been rigged -- please give me an example of self-interest really tied to some votes? Most of the actions of the Council have been counter-intuitive to influence peddaling except for normal retail Democratic politics: Teachers and Public Employees unions, Neighbourhood groups, Environmental initiatives, etc.

  • JTE

    "Thompson's participation in the process appears to me to be much more complex. It's not simply driven by economics -- it's not focused that way. The pattern sppears to be one of being a political junckie who has the resources to "play"."

    Really? His companies, added up, make him one of the (if not the) largest District contractors?

    Nobody knows what goes on in Thompson's head, but it sure *seems* pretty clear to me.

  • Keith B.

    Mighty touchy there, Barry! So you're saying it's ok for someone to exceed the campaign donation limits by forging names on money orders? Sounds like your head is in your ass as well. Maybe if you understood the law you'd make some PROGRESS getting that blockage cleared up.

    That said I'm not bothered by VO's "involvement", I'd imagine his campaign just rubber stamps & accepts all donations. It's not like VO had to sign each one himself and take them down to the bank with a deposit slip.

  • Constantly Surprised

    JTE: What actions of the council have been in Thompson's interests, for example?

    As I said, if Thompson (as an example) was simply trying to ingratiate himself with the Mayor and Council Chairman, then he NEVER would have supported Orange. Both were trying to get Biddle elected after annointing him. Clearly Thompson didn't believe that Gray and Brown would have functionally done anything to harm him in their official capacities either (no mater how much they disliked the fact that he supported Biddle).

    Politics in DC isn't a "direct drive" proposition. We are town of bureaucrats, lawyers, and political junkies.

    To the extent that there are bribes and kickbacks, they are pretty apparent and generally found-out. Whether they are prosecuted is another question, but they're generally found-out.

    We all want to keep DC that way, too. This isn't a town that tolerates real "bribes" and corruption. But let's not confuse people that are activists with resources who want to be players with "CROOKS". That's neither right or fair. People that violate lawas may be criminals, but their is distinction between that and "crooks" or "gangsters".

    I come back to the question: If the Council is really influenced by contributions, show me several examples of where that produced ACTIONS? I don't think you can find such things except for normal (Democratic) retail politics from it's traditional constituancies.

  • Jeff Holman


  • Alamo Sweets

    Biddle should run as an independant and knock Catania out of his seat

  • DC Guy

    What about PEPCO? Unions? Thompson?

    The list goes on, but the most egregious to me was the dais-based earmark for the Lincoln Theater and Emancipation Day. These were nothing more than a million dollars in self-dealing public monies that simply should not have been proposed nor supported.

  • KeepinItReal

    The city is dominated by Democrats and is yet still polorized along the lines of race. African Americans are the most loyal Democratic voters in the nation. Does that mean then that racist don't gravitate only to the GOP and that the nation only needs to look to the District of Columbia to confirm this?

    What is it about the "progressives" that African Americans distrust so much? Is it the dismissive and disrespectful tone that they take when speaking to or about residents of Wards 7 & 8? Could it be the lopsided media outlets in the District of Columbia, like the CP that are quick to thoroughly investigate ethical lapses of African Americans (as they should), yet look the other way when white politicians step over the line?

    The answer to ending the polorizaation is in the hands of the "progressives". Start treating and speaking of and to the residents of ward 7& 8 as if they are a part of the team as opposed to an obstruction to be removed, then the problem may well resolve itself.

  • SE Anthem

    @DCGuy so you mean to tell me your calling Orange suspicious because he founded a holiday for DC supporting the fact that the slaves were freed here first?

    Thats sad homie, yall are clearly picking the dumbest things to call someone shady.

    PEPCO is a job Orange took after the city decided that Fenty was a better person for Mayor (look where that got us. You got councilmembers who are working for the biggest city contractors but they get a slide because Orange worked for Pepco?

    If you personally hate Orange like that crazy person from one of these articles said they do, thats probably more understanding than the BS people put on here as to why they cannot stand him

  • Shut Your Mouth

    @KeepinItReal progressives are rookies to the game. The reason why DC no longer has that family element anymore is because of the progressives. All they want to do is move into the city for a couple years complain about dumb shit then leave.

    Progressives are nothing more than whites who want to influence the city with dumbass stuff. Progressives should start from the ground up like everyone else.

    Get some years under your belt as a resident before you waltz into the city talking about "We need this & change that"

  • NE John

    Shut Your Mouth, at first I liked those progressives, but I have grown tired of them. They can all fuk off in my book.

  • RealDC

    Oh, please, Biddle should just go away. His second straight lost to Orange in so many years. Yeah it was closer but it is really strange that Biddle as an AA does not appeal to AA voters. End of the day, Biddle is a loser, again! The "progressive" crowd only voted for him because of an anti-AA sentiment (see the Bitter White Guy Crew-Catania,Mara, Wells,Weaver) Biddle pandered to the "progressives" and failed.

  • Never Again

    After hearing about that news that Biddle's secretary dates Mike DeBonis, I'm glad Biddle is not a councilmember. He also hired that republican lady, I did not understand that move as well. Orange is a force Biddle wants no part of. Just find a 9-5 or ask Bowser can you be on her staff. Your not ready for the big leagues.

  • Blue Dolphin

    People always say they do not like Orange, but he does not seem like a bad guy. One of my friend's applied for Orange's summer youth job program back in 2001, and said he wouldnt have been able to help his mom pay for her chemo-therapy if it weren't for the opportunity Orange provided.

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