“I had to hold the line, and I did,” recalled Bonds, who joined Barry’s administration as a political aide.
Now Bonds, 67, is seeking to fill a vacant at-large D.C. Council seat — just as Ray did on his way to serving 14 years on the council.
Observers do not expect the vote to last six ballots this time. Bonds is chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, which will make the interim selection Monday night, and she enjoys solid support among the committee’s approximately 80 members.
Bonds said she is confident of victory, and her opponents acknowledge that she will be difficult to beat. A majority vote could put her on the council dais in time for the final meeting of the current session, on Dec. 18.
It would be a novel turn in the spotlight for Bonds, who has worked behind the scenes for District candidates and elected officials for more than five decades. Although she served several terms on a Ward 5 Advisory Neighborhood Commission and held elected Democratic Party posts, this is her first stint as a candidate for a major office. She said she was inspired to step forward after working on this fall’s presidential campaign and after noticing a dearth of women in the District’s elected positions.
“This is unusual for me, because I am very much a background person,” she said. “But I’m in this now, and it feels right.”
As a council member, Bonds said, she would be most interested in improving neighborhoods and tending to quality-of-life issues, while also focusing on job creation, fiscal responsibility and education.
“I don’t have any particular pet peeve, except I will try to continue to see improvements in the city,” she said, adding, “The city council’s going to get everything I can give.”
First, she is facing a high-pitched fight for the interim appointment and a potentially uglier one should she proceed to the April 23 special election that will fill the seat through 2014. Her foes paint her as a consummate political insider who represents a bygone generation of city political leadership and who has provided questionable leadership to the Democrats during six years as chairman.
Among the issues noted by Bonds’s opponents are campaign finance penalties incurred by local party officials in the course of raising money for the trip to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The committee was initially fined $18,000 and ordered to return $30,000 in contributions. It later settled the matter for $8,000 without admitting to any particular violations.