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Florence Pendleton
Florence Pendleton 1993.jpg
Pendleton in 1993
United States Shadow Senator
from the District of Columbia
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Seat established
Succeeded by Michael Brown
Personal details
Florence Howard

(1926-01-28)January 28, 1926
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
Died September 10, 2020(2020-09-10) (aged 94)
Columbus, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education Howard University (BS, MS)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Florence Howard Pendleton (January 28, 1926 – September 10, 2020) was an American political activist who served as a shadow senator from the District of Columbia from 1991 to 2007.

Pendleton's main goal as shadow senator was to promote the efforts of the District of Columbia to gain full voting rights. She was inaugurated as the first ever shadow senator from the District of Columbia on January 3, 1991. She was known as “The Education Senator” because of her legacy as a life-long educator, administrator of DC Public Schools, and founder of the nonprofit “STAND”, The Society for Teaching Americans about New Columbia and DC Statehood.

Pendleton defended her seat in 2000, cruising to victory in the general election over Janet Helms, beating her 84%–14%. Her re-election bid in 2006 failed when Philip Pannell successfully challenged that she failed to have 2,000 valid signatures to get onto the ballot, having only 1,559. She ran as a write-in candidate, but only won 1,363 votes as Michael Donald Brown cruised to victory with 62,415 votes over her and Pannell's 21,552 votes to win the Democratic Primary. Her last day in office was on January 3, 2007.


Pendleton graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science and she was a doctoral student at Virginia Tech.

Election history


1990 Shadow Senator election in Washington, D.C.
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jesse Jackson 85,454 57.03
Democratic Florence Pendleton 25,349 16.92
Democratic Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr. 22,401 14.95
Democratic James Forman 9,899 6.61
Democratic Marc Humphries 6,739 4.50
Total votes 149,842 100.00
General election
Democratic Jesse Jackson 105,633 46.80
Democratic Florence Pendleton 58,451 25.89
independent (politician) Harry T. Alexander 13,983 6.19
Republican Milton Francis 13,538 6.00
Republican Joan Gillison 12,845 5.69
D.C. Statehood Green Keith M. Wilkerson 4,545 2.01
D.C. Statehood Green Anthony W. Peacock 4,285 1.90
independent (politician) John West 3,621 1.60
independent (politician) David L. Whitehead 3,341 1.48
Socialist Workers Sam Manuel 2,765 1.23
independent (politician) Lee Black 2,728 1.21
Total votes 215,735 100.00
Democrat win (new seat)

In the general election, the top two vote getters were elected as Shadow senators of each seat, with Pendleton taking Seat 1 and Jackson taking Seat 2.


1994 U.S. Shadow Senator election in Washington, D.C.
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Florence Pendleton (incumbent) 78,576 76.83
Democratic Stephen Sellows 20,512 20.06
Write-in 3,180 3.11
Total votes 102,268 100.00
General election
Democratic Florence Pendleton (incumbent) 117,517 74.04
Republican Julie Finley 24,107 15.19
D.C. Statehood Green Mel Edwards 15,586 9.82
Write-in 1,511 0.95
Total votes 158,721 100.00
Democrat hold


2000 U.S. Shadow Senator election in Washington, D.C.
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Florence Pendleton (incumbent) 28,500 96.48
Write-in 1,041 3.52
Total votes 29,541 100.00
General election
Democratic Florence Pendleton (incumbent) 143,578 88.97
Republican Janet Helms (withdrew) 16,666 10.33
Write-in 1,136 0.71
Total votes 161,380 100.00
Democrat hold


2006 U.S. Shadow Senator Washington, D.C. Democratic Party primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Michael Donald Brown 62,415 73.15
Democratic Philip Pannell 21,552 25.26
Write-in 1,363 1.60
Total votes 85,330 100.00

Pendleton got kicked off the Democratic primary ballot for not getting enough valid signatures to qualify for the election. She ran as a write-in candidate with little success.

Political career

  • November 6, 1990 — elected shadow senator when office was created
  • November 8, 1994 — reelected shadow senator
  • November 7, 2000 — reelected shadow senator
  • 2006 — filed to run for reelection but was knocked off the primary ballot when her opponent Phil Pannell challenged the signatures on her petition

See also

  • United States congressional delegations from the District of Columbia
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