The Washington Post

Ambrose endorses Silverman; Bonds wins straw poll as D.C. council race heats up

Former D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose has thrown her support behind Democrat Elissa Silverman for a citywide at-large council seat, while another candidate in the race points to broad support from local civic activists.

With a less than a month to go until the April 23 special election, the seven candidates in the race are increasing efforts to line up support and showcase their expected strength at the polls.

Ambrose, who represented Ward 6 on the council from 1997 to 2007, on Thursday announced her support for Silverman, a former reporter on leave from the liberal D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

“We need her integrity and we need her smarts – especially when it comes to the budget,” Ambrose said.

The endorsement could help Silverman, a Ward 6 resident, boost her support in a ward where voters’ influence has been expanding due to population growth near H street and NoMa (north of Massachusetts Avenue).

But one of Silverman’s opponents, Republican Patrick Mara, is also expected to be formidable in Ward 6. During his unsuccessful campaign for the council in 2011, Mara received 36 percent of the vote in Ward 6, beating his closest rival in the nine-person race by 2 to 1.

Yet, Silverman is optimistic she can cut into Mara’s support in Ward 6 this year.

Meanwhile, the incumbent in the race, Council member Anita Bonds (D), was buoyed after she won the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations straw poll on Wednesday night.

Following a candidates forum, more than 200 activists voted for their preferred candidate. Bonds overwhelmed the competition, drawing 100 votes compared to Silverman’s 37.

Former council member Michael A. Brown, a Democrat seeking to return to office, came in third with 31 votes. Perry Redd, the Statehood Green Party nominee, received 18 votes while attorney Matthew Frumin, a Democrat, received 15.

Only nine people voted for Mara, underscoring the Democratic-leaning nature of the group. Attorney Paul Zukerberg, a Democrat, came in last after receiving just one vote.

“This campaign has momentum, and we are ready to move this city forward,” Bonds said after the vote.

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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