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Mr. Mendelson became active in city issues during the 1970s and served as an advisory neighborhood commission member before he was elected to the council in 1998.

Colleagues say he has the right temperament and experience to lead the council in the wake of Brown’s resignation, as the council winds down business ahead of its summer recess from mid-July to mid-September.

“Even though [Mr. Mendelson] has the potential to move big pieces of legislation,” Ms. Cheh said, “I think what I would want, and other members would want, is someone to carry us from here to November and do the work that’s keyed up for us to deal with.”

City voters hit the polls on Nov. 6 - the same day as the general election for president and several council seats - to select a candidate to finish out Brown’s term through 2014.

Both Mr. Mendelson and Mr. Orange have shown an interest in running for the chairman position in the special election.

Mr. Orange is also up for re-election to his at-large seat. On Monday, the D.C. Board of Ethics declared that candidates may run for both a council seat and the chairman’s position because they are “separate elections.”

Any candidate who runs for both offices must create separate campaign committees and cannot mingle their funds, according to the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.

A candidate may accept the maximum contribution for each office that is sought. For instance, a candidate such as Mr. Orange could accept $1,000 for at-large member and $1,500 for council chairman from the same donor.