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Biddle Downplays Evidence He Won White Vote in D.C. Council Primary




    Days after the election, a D.C. Council seat is still hanging in the balance. One of the leading candidates, Sekou Biddle, is downplaying the evidence of a sharp racial divide in the balloting. Tom Sherwood reports. (Published Friday, April 6, 2012)

    A candidate for an at-large D.C. Council seat hanging in the balance after Tuesday’s close primary is downplaying the evidence of a sharp racial divide in the balloting.

    On Kojo Nnamdi's WAMU Politics Hour, Sekou Biddle quickly responded to racially sensitive comments about "dirty" Asian businesses made by Councilman Marion Barry as the latter celebrated his Ward 8 primary victory election night and the effect of those comments on city race relations.

    “I have to believe [race relations] are worse now because comments are completely unacceptable,” Biddle said. “We have an increasingly diverse city, and when you begin to make comments like that you only exacerbate existing rifts that people have amongst each other across the city. There’s just no place for them in our city.”

    But Biddle declined to acknowledge a different racial split in Tuesday's voting.

    Biddle narrowly trails incumbent Councilman Vincent Orange by 543 votes with a few thousand absentee ballots to be counted next Friday. A Washington Post map shows a geographic and racial split in Tuesday’s voting: The blue representing mostly white areas that voted for Biddle and the green representing mostly black areas that voted for Orange.

    “There may be a racial or class divide as we’re seeing in the electorate, there may not be,” Biddle said. “I don’t know because I’m not actually interviewing each individual voter to find out who they’re voting for.”

    Washington City Paper Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman said the clear racial split is obvious to most anyone.