The D.C. Democratic State Committee and party insiders are trying to focus attention on one candidate to fill an at-large council seat, but Democratic challengers are pushing hard to keep that from happening.

The committee sent an e-mail to its listserve last week promoting a campaign event for Sekou Biddle, who is filling the seat on an interim basis after the committee appointed him earlier this month.

Other Democratic candidates vying to win the special election in April responded by sending e-mails to the committee contesting its relationship with Biddle. One candidate, Jacque Patterson, contends that unnamed party leaders have asked him to step out of the race.

The party establishment is pushing hard for Biddle, but as it meets resistance there's likely at least one candidate smiling: Republican Pat Mara who stands to gain from Democratic party confusion.