D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, center, and Council Chair Kwame Brown, right, in the council chambers last week. Brown is advocating for the District to combine a special election for Harry Thomas Jr.'s seat with the District's primaries April 3.
With former Ward 5 council member Harry Thomas Jr. now awaiting sentencing for theft of public money, the race to fill his seat is already heating up. It didn't take long for some would-be council members to signal their interest in replacing Thomas, who resigned last week and pleaded guilty to stealing more than 350,000 dollars of public funds.
At-large Council member Vincent Orange has scheduled a meeting at a church in northeast D.C. tonight to meet with prospective candidates and other activists and leaders from the ward.
Orange, who lives in Ward 5 and once served as its council member, says he is planning to fill the leadership void. Meanwhile, Council Chairman Kwame Brown says his staff will handle any calls for constituent services.
But Brown and Orange disagree on when the special election should be held.
Brown wants the special election to be held April 3 -- the date of the District's primary for several council races. Such a move would save the city hundreds of thousands dollars, and Brown says he is looking to see if its possible.
"I have our general counsel working on it," he says. "I have a call in to the congresswoman. If we can do it, I think it's in the best interest, without short changing the voters of Ward 5.