Tina Hobson, widow of D.C. City Council member Julius Hobson, withdrew as a candidate for the Ward 6 council seat yesterday and threw her support to Bernard Gray, an Anacostia lawyer. The move whittles the number of active candidates in the race down to incumbent Democrat Nadine P. Winter and Gray, who is making his first bid for a council seat.

Hobson said yesterday she withdrew because she feared she and Gray would split the anti-Winter vote and assure the incumbent a fourth term. "We think there is a better opportunity to unseat Nadine with one candidate," Hobson said at a news conference held with Gray.

Hobson, a Capitol Hill resident, and Gray, who contends that Winter has neglected the Anacostia section of the ward, criticized the incumbent on a variety of issues.

A joint statement cited Winter's failure to prevent the establishment of a temporary homeless shelter in Anacostia last fall. Hobson also said Winter was slow to react to a proposal by Mayor Marion Barry's administration to place overflow jail inmates in an unused police station in the ward. Winter actively protested the plan, which was later dropped, but Hobson said, "If she had been far-sighted enough, the problem would never have occurred."

Hobson -- who will serve as Gray's campaign cochairwoman -- and Gray also accused Winter of failing to prevent a "saturation" of liquor licenses in the ward.

Hobson said she decided to drop out after a meeting last week with the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, which was conducting endorsement interviews. "I was impressed with him," she said, adding that she and Gray agree on most major issues.