D.C. Democratic women plan Bonds fundraiser


Anita Bonds, pictured Dec. 10, 2012. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
February 28, 2013

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds has won the support of more than 60 longtime Democratic female activists, who are co-sponsoring a “women bonding for Bonds” fundraiser for the incumbent March 10.

Bonds, head of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, is holding the $51-per-person fundraiser at Democratic National Committee headquarters. The event is co-hosted by a who’s who of longtime D.C. Democratic leaders, underscoring Bonds apparent success in rallying a big chunk of the party establishment behind her campaign to retain her seat in the April 23 special election.

Co-hosts of the fundraiser include Virginia Williams, the mother of former mayor Anthony Williams (D) and Romaine Thomas, an influential Ward 5 Democratic leader and the mother of former council member Harry Thomas Jr (D-Ward 5). Other co-hosts include the Rev. E. Gail Anderson Holness, a Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and former council candidate; MarilynTyler Brown, a former Democratic National Committeewoman; Lillian Perdomo, a Ward 1 Democratic leader active in the Hispanic community; and Estelle Lloyd, former chief of staff to council member Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large).

The event comes as Bonds, who the state committee appointed in December to temporarily fill the vacant at-large seat, has been stepping up her campaign activities. Bonds has hired Kouri Marshall, who served as President Obama’s D.C. state director, as her campaign manager.

Marshall has enlisted several other former local Obama campaign staffers to assist him in the effort, which he says will rely heavily on “organizing skills.”

“It’s about the field, and a woman, Anita Bonds, who has dedicated her life to other political leaders behind the scenes, and I frankly think now is her time,” said Marshall, 30.

Bonds is one of only two women in the seven-person race, the other being progressive activist Elissa Silverman. Bonds is also one of three African American candidates in the contest, and many observers believe she will be able to build a formidable coalition of support in majority-black neighborhoods.

But Bonds, 67, lacks a meaty campaign platform and a polished speaking style. At a candidates forum Tuesday night in Takoma, Bonds rambled through her closing statement with a disjointed message.

“One of the things I learned in campaigning is, it’s hard to really read the faces of the people because we are a cosmopolitan of the city,” Bonds said in her closing remarks. “We come from many different ideas and issues that we want to talk about. But I would like to say, in closing, I am a very good listener and very interested in listening to citizens more and more.”

She later suggested that she could use input and ideas.

“I am not new to these kinds of activities, that is, reaching out to citizens, but I am totally new to being a candidate,” Bonds said. “I hope you will find me to be just a little different than your usual candidate. I am not coming to the table with all the ideas. I want to hear what you have to say.”

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, Marilyn Tyler Brown’s name was misspelled.

Tim Craig is The Post’s bureau chief in Pakistan. He has also covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the District of Columbia government.
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