The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

McDuffie, Silverman announce endorsements in at-large council race

The John Wilson Building, home to the D.C. Council. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council members Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) and Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) rolled out high-profile endorsements this week in the race for the District’s two at-large seats as the November election nears.

Outgoing D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) announced his support for Silverman during a meet-and-greet in the Palisades on Wednesday evening. The next morning, McDuffie, who is running as an independent, announced on Twitter the endorsement of former U.S. labor secretary Tom Perez, a former Democratic National Committee chair.

The endorsements come as the two jockey for position as the front-runners for what is likely to be a single available seat in the council’s at-large race. The Democratic nominee in the at-large race, incumbent Anita Bonds, is a favorite to retain her seat in a city where the majority of voters are Democrats. (By law, at least one of the seats must be held by a candidate who is not in the majority party — in this case, someone who is not a Democrat.)

Perez’s endorsement comes as McDuffie makes a bid to extend his career in D.C. politics after he was ruled ineligible to run for D.C. attorney general in this year’s Democratic primary. McDuffie, a three-time Democratic council member representing Ward 5, announced a last-minute bid for an at-large seat as an independent in July.

Perez, who lost to author Wes Moore in the Democratic primary for Maryland governor this year, served several roles in the Obama administration, including secretary of labor. In a video released by the McDuffie campaign, Perez praised McDuffie’s work as a trial attorney when Perez served as assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

McDuffie’s pivot to the at-large race drew criticism from Silverman, who was endorsed by the outgoing attorney general whose seat McDuffie originally sought. In a video released by the Silverman campaign, Racine said Silverman funded his office’s Public Advocacy Division, which worked to return stolen wages to workers. Racine previously endorsed Silverman in the at-large race ahead of the 2018 election.

In an email to The Washington Post, Silverman also announced an endorsement from the Metro Washington Labor Council.

The other candidates for the council’s at-large seats are independents Karim Marshall, Graham McLaughlin and Fred Hill; Republican Giuseppe Niosi; and D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate David Schwartzman.

Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to voters early next month, in advance of the Nov. 8 general election.