D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser threw her support behind Anita Bonds’ council campaign Sunday, saying it’s time for Democrats to reward Bonds for her years of service to the party.

Bowser (D-Ward 4), a likely a candidate for mayor next year, announced her support during a fundraiser for Bonds at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill.

Bonds, the chairwoman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, is one of seven candidates vying for a D.C. Council at-large seat in the April 23 special election.

In December, the state committee selected Bonds to temporarily fill the seat pending the special election. At the event, Bowser told about 60 Democratic activists that Bonds has spent much of her public career working to get more women and Democrats elected to office.

“Sometimes, you have to step up to the plate and support the people who support you,” said Bowser, who as elected to the council in 2007.

Bowser noted that Bonds faces a tough race as she battles five other Democrats, a Statehood Green Party candidate, and Republican Patrick Mara. She called on Democrats to unite behind Bonds if they want to keep the seat, which had been held by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), in Democratic hands.

“Who wants to keep the seat Democratic?” Bowser asked.” If you want to keep the seat Democratic, you have to fight for it, and we’ve got to do everything we can for Anita.”

During her remarks, Bowser did not explicitly endorse Bonds. But when asked if the speech qualified as an endorsement, Bowser responded, “I love Anita Bonds.”

Bowser becomes only the second council member to publicly get behind a candidate in the special election.

Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), another likely mayoral candidate, also attended a Bonds event last week. But Wells stressed he will not make an endorsement in the special election.

Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) helped Bonds secure the nod from the Democratic State Committee in December. He also spoke at the fundraiser Sunday, telling the audience he’s prepared to campaign aggressively to help her win. Barry said he will work particularly hard to rally seniors in Ward 8 behind her campaign.

The “women bonding for Bonds” fundraiser was co-hosted by about 100 Democratic women, though fewer than that showed up at the mid-afternoon event.

Those spotted included: Mame Reiley, the chair of the Democratic National Committee Women’s Caucus; former council member Sandy Allen; Janice Davis, president of the National Federation of Democratic Women; Denise Tolliver, Mendelson’s chief of staff; Virginia Williams, mother of former mayor Anthony Williams; and Aimee Ochetti, a vice president at the University of the District of Columbia.