The D.C. Democratic State Committee can’t even hold a near-unanimous election without some controversy. The organization’s membership voted Thursday to put Robert White in the vacant at-large D.C. Council seat, but still managed to ruffle some feathers along the way.
Thanks to his June Democratic primary victory, White was the heavy favorite to be appointed to the remaining three-month term left open when Vincent Orange resigned in August.
Rather than let other candidates pitch their quixotic campaigns to close out Orange’s term, though, the DCDSC’s leadership had decided ahead of time to advance only White to a vote. After all, DCDSC member Ronnie Edwards argued, anyone who wanted to be an at-large councilmember should have just run in June’s primary.
White won easily, with 43 votes in favor, just two votes against, and one abstention. Still, the process left longtime activist Anita Bellamy Shelton, who had planned to launch her own DCDSC campaign for the seat, steamed. In an awkward exchange after the vote, White stood next to Bellamy Shelton while she denounced the process that helped get him to the Council.
“I feel that it was a breach to those who believe in the integrity of this party,” Bellamy Shelton said of the vote, although she conceded later that she wouldn’t “let the stain of a bad process contaminate” White.
White will be sworn in Friday morning, just days before the Council comes back from its summer recess next week.