Business Backs Brown - NBC4 Washington

Business Backs Brown

Business groups back Brown for D.C. Council Chair



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    Kwame Brown

    Kwame Brown continues to give Vincent Orange the business in their race for D.C. Council Chair.

    Brown, an at-large council member, has made those left behind by the city’s rush to development the core of his base. In his citywide campaigns, he has emphasized the have-nots and has tried to appeal to the old Marion Barry constituency.

    Orange, on the other hand, was a cheerleader for development during his time on the council, and in his 2006 bid for mayor, he hoped to appeal to exiting Mayor Anthony Williams’s pro-business supporters. (It didn’t work -- Orange got just 3 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.)

    It is a bit of a surprise, then, that in Orange’s comeback bid, the D.C. business community has been rallying around Brown. The Greater Washington Board of Trade endorsed Brown at the end of June, with the group’s president, Jim Dinegar, citing Brown’s “good working relationship with us.”

    Now, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce PAC has endorsed Brown, even though D.C. Chamber President Barbara Lang is a friend of Orange. Gilbert DeLorme, who heads the PAC, said, “Both candidates have exhibited impressive records of service, but in the end we felt that Councilmember Brown will be more effective in working with the business community and moving legislation that encourages small businesses, growth and development.”

    If Orange, who spent his time out of office as a top-level executive himself, can’t win over the business community, whose support can he hope for? These endorsements, on top of many others for Brown, indicate that Orange may not have much of a chance at all.  Brown has outraised Orange, and topped him 585-329 in the June Democratic straw poll.

    Brown has had high ambitions in the city since his 2004 election and considered a run for mayor this year. (“Draft Kwame Brown” signs of unknown origin appeared on lawns around the city before Vincent Gray entered the race against Mayor Adrian Fenty.)

    The business community simply sees Brown as the likely winner of the council chair race, and as a possible future mayor, and is making a long-term investment.

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