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Anita Bonds Wins At Large Council Member Special Election

by Prince Of Petworth April 24, 2013 at 9:30 am 110 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Carly & Art

From DC Board of Elections:

Out of 505,698 registered voters, 49,869 or 9.86% voted for:

ANITA BONDS 16,054 32.19%
ELISSA SILVERMAN 13,740 27.55%
PATRICK MARA 11,367 22.79%

The Budget Autonomy referendum passed with 83.09% of the vote.

  • idaho ave

    Great. DC chose corruption again. Tragedy of it all is that the same people that supported Bonds will be the ones displaced by her corruption. She’s in the pocket of Wal Mart and the developers that will bring the full force of gentrification down upon those that can least handle it…

    • Anonymous

      Too many candidates ran against her. People need to coalesce around one candidate. Even with a Republican siphoning vote, Fruman also took 11% (which would have put Silverman over the top).

      Everyone hates a spoiler.

      • JB

        I agree. This is the same thing that allowed Vincent Orange to squeak by in 2011. If the reform candidates can’t put aside their egos to coalesce around one candidate, they are just going to keep splitting the vote.

        • french streeter

          Less than 10% voter turnout. No bitching allowed unless you actually got out and voted.

          • Anonymous

            Nope, this is WHY I didn’t bother to vote. I knew exactly who was going to win all along. I don’t think a higher turnout would have affected the outcome, either.

          • JB

            Of course I voted. The low turnout is obviously a huge problem, but Silverman still would’ve won had Fruman dropped out, just as Biddle would’ve beaten Orange if it weren’t for Shapiro.

          • Anonymous

            This is exactly why I DID vote, fewer people voting means my vote counts more!

          • saf

            Agreed, FS!

            And anon, think about what you said, “I thought I knew what would happen, so I didn’t bother to try to do anything at all. After all, if you don’t try, you can blame everybody else.”

          • Trying is the first step towards failure.

          • Anonymous

            +1000. At 10:45 when I voted, the machine confirmed my ballot as #52.

      • Or maybe it’s the structure of the election itself that is to blame? It’s kind of sad that a candidate with less than a third of the electorate’s votes can win a council seat intended to represent the entire city. I think it’s time that we reform our the structure of our city council elections by adopting a run-off type format among the top vote-getters.

        • +1

        • Q-Street


        • Anonymous

          if we can’t get people out to vote in a one chance election, how are we going to get them out for 2 elections?

  • Jeff G.

    Could we sew Silverman and Frumin together into some something like conjoined twins, combine their votes, and declare the Matlissa Fruverman the new member of the council?

    • BitterElitist

      Side to side or top to bottom? Which top/bottom?

  • Anonymous

    You don’t know how appropriate the use of that Barry button is!

  • Anonymous

    I can’t say I’m at all surprised by this, but I am certainly disappointed.

  • Sir Douchy

    On the bright side, at least we get another chance to kick the bums out next year! Fenty 2014!!

    • Anonymous

      Oh, for the love of god, all Adrian Fenty did was continue (not completely f*ck up) the vast improvements for which Anthony Williams was largely responsible.

      • Anonymous

        And that is bad how?

    • Jamie

      And I suppose you want Bush back too because Obama’s hasn’t made everyone fabulously rich yet?

      Good lord – Fenty was a disaster, Grey’s failings don’t somehow change that history. You just forgot.

      By the way why don’t you see how things are looking for his legacy with Michelle Rhee right about now, in case you need a reminder that he lied his way through everything.

  • anonymoose

    The real question is, how did Republican Patrick Mara manage to come in third?! Are there really that many secret Republicans in this town?

    • Anony

      Yes. See Ward 3.

      • Anonymous

        And they’re not all in Ward 3 anymore, either. Mara took 22% in Ward 1. See: wealthy gentrifiers.

        • annonny

          Puhleeze…..get over yourself. Maybe there’s a correlation between recent arrivals and voting against the corrupt status quo of the DC political cesspool, but it’s certainly not related to wealth.

          How about “recent transplants shocked by DC corruption and self-aware enough to educate themselves about candidates who might change the city for the better.”

          What kind of odds are people giving on Bonds’ reneging on her promise to quit her Fort Meyer Construction job after she decides a $130K part-time salary just isn’t enough for her?

          • Anonymous

            And if you think that has nothing to do with wealth, then you have a lot of learning to do. Your naivete is cute.

          • annonny

            Ha, seriously?

            Sure, I get that people who are disadvantaged are typically less educated, and that people who start out life well tend to want to protect what they inherited and/or have. But to say that “gentrifiers” equals “republicans” (which, in the case of Mara or pretty much any other DC repub, equates to “republican in name only,” but that’s another issue) is not just intellectually bankrupt, it’s insulting.

            But then again, it’s always easiest to blame the rich, isn’t it?

        • BitterElitist

          Exactly. They’re their parents’ kids and some are very conservative.

    • Anonymous

      Mara also picked up votes of people who thought all Democrats are tainted by Business-As-Usual, DC-style.

      • Like me, a lifelong D – I voted Mara. The first time I’ve ever voted for a Republican in any election.

        DC Council could use a contrary voice, if only for the noise he would have made and the resulting press coverage.

        Unsurprisingly, DC chooses the business as usual candidate.

        • Anonymous


          When you have a one party system why are you surprised that DC government is so corrupt?

    • Anonymous

      I know many registered Democrats who voted for Mara – a conservative who doesn’t have all those crazy religious right views.

      • Including me. It’s amazing that the same people who bitch and moan about the Tea Party’s knee-jerk hatred of Obama, no matter what he proposes, see no issue with knee-jerk hatred of all Republicans, no matter what they propose. I thought (a) Mara was a lot more like David Catania than Ann Coulter, (b) had actually had some positive experience in District government, and (c) was a lot more likely to bring a challenging perspective to the status quo. Silverman was ok, but basically a less corrupt version of the same thinking.

        • Oh, and I moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1995 and grew up in a different inner city, so I don’t want to hear some kid who rode his fixie in from Brown telling me about the newcomers.

        • Anonymous

          At least you’re willing to admit that you have conservative views, unlike many of the recent newcomers who like to call themselves liberal because they think it’s the hip, young thing to do, when deep down, they’re just like their wealthy, conservative parents.

          • BitterElitist

            thank you both of you.

        • washingtonian

          What exactly was Mara proposing that distinguished him from the average Republican on the Hill? He opposed a hike in the minimum wage (typical), opposed tax increases (typical), he opposed expanding the sick leave law (typical) and failed to articulate any spending that he supported with actual specific numbers (typical again). What legislative position does Mara hold other than supporting gay marriage that so starkly separates him from the average Republican? Oh…none. Which is why he lost…again.

          • Anonymous

            I voted for Silverman and don’t like the Republican brand. But progessive Republicans, financial hawks who see societal benefits in gay marriage, get on the school boards rather than flee to the burbs, who see marijuana laws as more detrimental than marijuana itself, who believe in urbanism rather than “pave it all, I’m commuting from WV” are worth supporting. Now, I won’t be the one to support them, but they are the Republicans of the future in places like DC.

          • JB

            I’m confused as well and the Mara voters on here are being sort of vague. If you support someone who is fiscally conservative, but socially liberal, wouldn’t that just make you a libertarian?

        • KBTMtP

          It’s not a knee-jerk reaction not to vote against a man that supported – even workded to get Mitt Romney elected. And comparing him to D. Catania is no great compliment. He supported the Republican party because he believes in their policies; He only became an “Independent” when he, personally, had something to gain… not unlike Andrew Sullivan.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah. Who do you think is pushing up real estate prices in DC?

      GOP-aligned operatives are everywhere in this town (especially the nicest parts), whoring themselves out for tons of money.

      • And you think Democratic operatives aren’t? Both are part of the same real estate market. Your argument is akin to saying more domestic oil production will reduce prices at the pump – it won’t. The market is the market.

        NEWSFLASH – Dems have been in power the last 5 years, and the town is full of Democratic staffers and operatives who are here working as a result.

        Yours is one of the dumbest comments I’ve read on a blog rife with dumb comments.

        • Anonymous

          So true. The nicest, most expensive neighborhoods are positively brimming with dems. Chevy Chase, MD? Democrat. Georgetown? Democrat. Cleveland Park? Democrat.

          In Chevy Chase, Obama signs outnumbered Romney ones 10-1 at least…

          So enough with the simplistic “rich = GOP” & “GOP = rich” & (for that matter) “rich = greedy and evil”.

          • Perhaps, but Mara won the two Georgetown precincts, as well as Glover Park.

          • JL

            It’s “Democratic”, not “Democrat”.

        • Thank you.

        • Anonymous

          U mad, bro?

          I’d rather take the people who are less actively trying to fuck over America (and DC) for their own personal gain. That’s my opinion on the matter. Saying that the Dems and the GOP are the same is the tired moral equivalency that these talk radio puppets have been spewing for years. Boring, and not true in the least bit.

          Gun advocates? Energy lobbyists? Special interests for banks? 90% of the people working for those lobbying/industry groups come from GOP side of the aisle. Yes, there are some Dems, but vast majority are GOP. And they are the highest paid in DC because dirty business pays well.

    • DC

      First time I have voted for a republican in years. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders, and it’s not like there will be some Tea Party renaissance in DC.

    • Mara’s hardly a “real” Republican.

      • Anonymous

        …the definition of which is going to be very much in flux over the coming years, when the politics of the new urban upper class in cities such as DC begin to coalesce and turn against the old-guard corruption of the incumbent Democratic ruling class.

      • Nolo

        If all Republicans were like Mara, I’d probably be a registered Republican. As it is, I’m a registered Democrat and I think that I’m pretty liberal on most issues. But I voted for Mara.

        • +1. Rockefeller Republicans, which is probably closer to where I am than libertarian, are all left thinking Democrats are closer now. The mainstream Republican party doesn’t want me, and I don’t want them.

    • Anonymous

      I’m in Ward 4. I voted for Mara based on his statements he made. I believe he was the best candidate for change. Silverman and Fruman hemmed and hawwed on a few key items. Mara had answers. First republican I’ve ever voted for in my life, and I’ll vote for him again if the change-driving dems on the ballot don’t tighten up thier stances in the next election.

    • ET

      Republicans do well in low turnout elections. Also, there are a fair number of the newbies to DC that would likely vote Republican.

  • Anonymous

    I hope this result is encouraging to Silverman and discouraging to Mara and Frumin. There will be at-large elections again soon.

  • anon

    Ugh. Less than 10% turnout. Seriously people.

    • Anonymous

      Right?!? early voting was so simple. And you can’t say you didn’t hear about the election – with robocalls and flyers and house-visits, no one did not know there was an election.

      • Anonymous

        The only reason I knew about the election was because of PoP’ville. I received nothing in the mail, didn’t get any calls (I only have a cell phone), no emails, etc. Maybe because I’m a renter and I’m not on property records? I voted in DC for the 2012 Presidential Election.

        • Anonymous

          Didn’t you notice all the signs posted around town? Turn on the radio? Read the newspaper? Catch any local TV news?

          • Anonymous

            My girlfriend didn’t know about it either, and was interrogating me about how I knew (like it was some big secret).

          • Anonymous

            We saw the signs, but no one of under the age of 30 listens to the radio or reads newspapers. How quaint.

            And I received NOTHING from the DC Board of Elections, despite being an absentee voter in the 2012 cycle. Did I need to do something different? Did I need to re-register?

          • anon

            Are you kidding me? Reading the paper (online even!) and listening to the radio are quaint?? Gee, maybe you should have subscribed the the DCBOE twitter feed, or liked them on FB or something. If you are going to pretend to be a concerned citizen and get outraged that you didn’t know about an election in this town you need to get engaged. And if you are going to shun traditional media for your own social media silo that means making an effort on your part to make receiving that information part of your little world. Sorry.

          • Anonymous

            Wow. There are a bunch of people living in their own la-la land who somehow expect everything to come directly to them in some neat attractive package. I can’t even vote (permanent resident – not a citizen) – so I did not get anything in the mail BUT I was very aware of the election and read up on each candidate and wished I could have voted (and I pay DC taxes, send my kids to DCPS etc.).

          • OP

            I did vote, but ONLY because of PoP’ville.

            My point is that a lot of people didn’t vote simply because they were not aware that there was an election.

            I’m glad some of you got reminders from DCBOE and the campaigns that there was an election, but MANY people in DC did not. And that was the point of my post. The election was poorly advertised and directed only at the candidates’ bases.

        • Anonymous

          I got mailers every day! Sometimes from the same candidate…

          • bb

            Also, the DCBOE sent out two postcard reminders (they screwed up the first one, which implied that there was only one voting station).

        • I’m a renter who has been in his apartment for about a year, and I got a postcard and/or flyer from many of the people running. The DC gov’t also sent postcards twice about this election.

        • Anonymous

          DC Board of Elections sent out two postcards to registered voters. Maybe you are not registered at your current address or need to pay more attention to your “junk mail”.

          I could, however, believe that candidates targeted their mailings to particular districts, so maybe some of us did receive more of those flyers than others.

        • Anonymous

          Here’s what I don’t get. If you’re here complaining in the comments you probably read this blog (and other local blogs) regularly, and PoP and others have done many posts about the election.

        • JL

          Uhh, I’m not sure I would want someone who is paying so little attention to local politics and issues to vote anyway.

          Frankly I felt bombarded by all the yard signs, postcards, knocks on my door, coverage on local blogs/Twitter/etc. Anyone with even a passing interest in local politics would have known this election was happening.

      • AP

        +1 – It’s abysmal that hardly anyone turned out to vote, but they’ll be the first ones complaining at the community meetings.

        • Yeah, seems like we shouldn’t be so pissy about taxation without representation if we won’t even represent ourselves when given the opportunity.

      • washingtonian

        I never got a robocall or a house visit.

        I got two flyers each from Mara and Frumin.

  • Congratulations Ft. Myers Construction Corp!

  • C

    Not super pleased about this result, but I will say that this is the election that finally got me off my ass and led me to change my registration to DC and vote here.

  • Anonymous

    Ugh. So so so disappointed. What a horrible turnout! C’mon people! Anyone who could have voted and didn’t does not have the right to complain about corrupt DC politics!

    • Anonymous

      Honestly, none of my friends knew that there was an election yesterday. We are all young professional renters in the city and registered to vote here. I think the campaigns didn’t reach out to anyone beyond their base (Bonds = African Americans, Silverman/Frumin/Mara = Annoyed white home owners).

      • JB

        I don’t think that’s true. I’m a young professional renter in the city, and I got tons of mailers everyday, and I had a few visits from volunteers from Silverman’s campaign and I think from Mara’s (they just left the flyer at the door).

        • Anonymous

          Really? I experienced nothing like that and I’m a young, white, high income registered Democrat. I should have been a prime target for Mara/Frumin/Silverman campaigns.

          Maybe if I lived in a single family home there would have been more outreach or personal contact (I’m in a small/boutique apartment bldg – can’t really get inside to knock on my door).

          • JB

            Yeah, that really is strange. Maybe living in an apartment building would mean you wouldn’t get visits from the volunteers, but I wonder why you didn’t get the mailers. One weird thing, i have several roommates, and yet I’m the only one who got mailers. I wonder if that’s because they aren’t registered to vote in DC, or if I somehow got on some sort of outreach list.

          • I didn’t get any mailers either (registered Dem in Ward 1). Just knew of the election due to PoPVille and a small notice from the DC Elections Board.

          • JB

            Yep, I am a registered Dem in Ward 1 too.

          • I got a bunch of mailers from the campaigns (from Silverman, Frumin, Mara). I also voted in the special election (at-large) last year and the mayor’s race before that. Given limited campaign funds (and predictably low turnout for a special election), I assume that the campaigns prioritized their outreach efforts on voters that have a history of making a special effort to vote in local races.

          • Anonymous

            They targeted people who voted in the last special.

          • Registered Dem (2 of us!) in Petworth (Battleground DC) and we got nothing from any candidates. We own a rowhome, and have voted in every election (including yesterday) since we moved into DC. Both of us have DC licenses etc. Really confused as to why we got nothing, but ultimately we figured out who the best chance was to beat Bonds and voted for her. Wish more would have done the same.

            On another note, my neighbor laughed at me when I asked if they voted. They are retirees, and we live three blocks from Truesdell where we vote. No clue why they thought it was funny.

          • It makes no difference whether you rent or own where you live – its about whether you are a Supervoter – someone that has voted in the last 4 consecutive elections. If you are, you’ll get all the mailings and if not, you probably won’t.

      • ET

        I only got two cards from elections commission with the date -nothing from any of the candidates which is a bit of a surprise.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a young professional renter, and while I didn’t receive any mailers, phone calls (I don’t have a land line), or campaign worker visits, it was pretty hard not to notice all the signs stapled to light posts, etc. around Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights. And while I think it’s probably true to some extent that the candidates didn’t barnstorm much beyond their base, I’d speculate that it’s less because they don’t care about any demographic outside their base, but rather that, with limited funds in a low-turnout election, it’s a more sure bet to focus on getting your core constituency motivated to vote instead of expending energy on trying to win over unfamiliar voters.

        • Anonymous

          After 4 years in the city, I’ve totally tuned out & stopped paying attention to the political signs. They are up ALL THE TIME and remain up long after the elections are over. And most aren’t very effective at giving you any details other than a last name printed in large font.


  • The bad news is, “pay to play” won again. The good news is, Bonds faces reelection in a year. It will be interesting to see if a decent Democratic challenger to Bonds (meaning none of the “reform” candidates from this cycle) will come forth in the meantime. The Democratic establishment, represented largely in Wards 4, 5, 7 & 8 keeps taking the so-called “progressives” to the woodshed.

    • Anonymous

      I think Silverman was a “decent” Democratic candidate. What else do you want???

      • I guess I have a low threshold for hypocritical self-righteousness. She attacked Mara over the sources of campaign contributions, then kept money given to her by Sinclair Skinner. I guess Fenty-era corruption is ok but far right PAC’s aren’t. DC can do a lot better.

        • JB

          I don’t remember how much the donation was for, but wasn’t it just a couple of hundred bucks? I think she should’ve returned it, but I hardly think that compares to some of the questionable donations Mara took (although at least he had the sense to return some).

  • Look at the bright side: she’ll have to run again next year.

  • Anon X

    I am a steadfast Democrat, but I voted for Patrick Mara. why? because I dont think one party rule is effective. Conflict breeds compromise. Even though I’m a democrat, I dont think democrats are always right, especially merely by virtue of being democrats. A little philosophical diversity would strengthen the council.

    • Anon

      I don’t understand why candidates in local elections need to declare themselves are democrats or republicans. These labels stop people from taking time to understand a candidate’s position.

    • Statehood Green

      If that’s true, why didn’t you vote for the Statehood Green candidate, whose policies more closely align to the Democratic Party than Mara, but would exist outside the Dem machine?

      • Anon X

        Because the statehood Green Party are a bunch of ideologues and won’t help compromise one bit. Nor are they particularly close to democrats.

  • It’s too bad we can’t have a runoff election when there are six candidates, or at least the chance to pick a second candidate if our first candidate doesn’t win. I am sure that in a citywide runoff Silverman would crush Bonds. :'(

  • Sydney P

    In her own precinct 19, Bonds lost the election.

    • JoeEsq74

      …by 1 vote??

  • Lame. I voted Mara.

  • BitterElitist

    I only had any outreach from Mara’s people. Do better Silverman.

  • Nolo

    By the way, if we had rank-choice voting, this election would’ve been completely different and a lot more meaningful.

  • Ralph

    I think this election shows one thing. People are disgusted about the inequities in DC and voted for Anita Bonds. Look around you and see :)

    • Anonymous

      I give you 10 Troll Points for your attempt to stir the pot.

    • Hillman

      I wouldn’t go that far.

      She had the backing of the party establishment.

      And Barry’s endorsement.

      In a special election, where usually only the very faithful vote.

      And she ran a blatant appeal to vote for her because she was black.

  • Hillman

    I voted twice for Obama.

    And now once for Mara.

    Dems have run DC into the ground.

    You want to see the poster child for a welfare system run amuck, now in it’s third decade of being counter-productive?

    Look no further than DC.


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