Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange has always been a master showman. He never seems the least bit embarrassed by the props he uses on the council dais or by the sometimes hokey rhyming phrases that color his political prose.
But his new ad campaign, designed to kick-start his foundering mayoral bid, strains even the Orange standard. The one-minute jingle began running on WTOP radio today and is scheduled to run for one week, according to Orange. A television version of the ad, complete with a bouncing ball over the lyrics, will also run on Comcast cable.
Make no mistake, Orange’s ad is must-listen stuff. To the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”—you read that right, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”—the singers run through a list of Orange accomplishments. With absolutely no regard for rhyming, the ad hits on Home Depot’s opening in Ward 5, D.C. Emancipation Day, and, of course, Orange’s “three E’s.”
Orange isn’t the least bit concerned that the jingle will make people think he is a less-than-serious candidate for mayor. “There is a little light humor in the ad,” says Orange. “But it also talks about our great plan. It talks about the three Es.”
As to the seriousness of his candidacy: “I think my record speaks for itself,” he says. “How can you not take a person seriously who has created the only city holiday legislatively? People take [Ward 4 Councilmember Adrian] Fenty seriously and what has he done?” asks Orange.
“I am extremely comfortable with who I am. If the people can’t accept it, that’s OK. I know who I am,” he continues.
Well, not exactly. During an interview about the ad, Orange launched into a campaign speech that suggested his ride in the white horse-drawn carriage with Mayor Anthony A. Williams in Monday’s Emancipation Day parade might have gone to his head. “Some people are running for mayor,” says Orange. “I am the mayor.”
Of course, the voters will be the final judge as to whether silliness is an effective attention grabber in the oh-so-serious world of D.C. mayoral politics. And Orange isn’t about to concede it’s desperation time for a campaign that sources say is polling in the single digits. For Orange, the ad is just the beginning of a huge electoral surprise.
“You are getting ready to witness something that no other candidate can show you but me,” says Orange.