The Washington Times - April 26, 2011, 11:34AM

Sekou Biddle smiled and asked rival campaign volunteers if they had “any last-minute suggestions” before he strode in the Shepherd Park Elementary School early Tuesday to cast his vote in defense of his at-large seat on the D.C. council.

Mr. Biddle, appointed to the seat vacated by Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown in January, will head to the U Street corridor later to await the results of the special election that features a wide-open field.


Many believe fellow Democrat and two-time council member Vincent Orange poses the most serious challenge to his seat. Republican Pat Mara, who garnered the Washington Post’s endorsement, as well as Democrats Bryan Weaver and Joshua Lopez have come on strong in ambitious campaigns, and Democrats Tom Brown and Dorothy Douglas, independent Arkan Haile and Statehood Green Party candidate Alan Page are also on the ballot.

The outcome could come down to turnout, which is historically low in D.C. special elections. Residents are also trying to get back into a normal routine, with Tuesday’s vote arriving on the heels of religious holidays and spring break for school children.

Turnout at Shepherd Park could be described as a slow trickle after a more steady stream earlier in the morning, with observers saying a little more than a 100 people had shown up by 10 a.m.

Mr. Biddle, whose children attend the school, greeted voters for a couple hours alongside volunteers for Mr. Orange and Mr. Lopez and reps for Ward 4 State Board of Education candidates An Almquist and Andrew Moss.
People on scene said the polls were not ready to open on time, and some voters left before doors opened at 7:15 a.m.

Shortly before 10 a.m., Mr. Biddle and his wife, Cara, strode across the green and yellow gymnasium to punch their ballots and share a post-vote kiss.
“I feel good,” Mr. Biddle said. ” I feel like we worked really hard to run a good campaign. At this point, it’s mostly in the hands of the voters.”