D.C. Council candidate Elissa Silverman has released e-mails she sent last week to fellow candidate Matthew Frumin in which she asked him to drop out of the race.

Silverman, one six candidates in Tuesday’s election, released the e-mails to bolster her argument that she did not explicitly try to link Frumin’s departure with her future support of him in a race against Council member Mary M. Cheh (D) in Ward 3.

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Silverman and her campaign treasurer, Ken Archer, tried to broker a deal with Frumin where he would drop out, but win her support in a future race against Cheh.

In the e-mail, Silverman uses a poll sponsored by marijuana legalization advocates to try to goad Frumin out of the race. She also takes a swipe at Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and Council member Anita Bonds (D-At large), also a candidate in Tuesday’s election.

Silverman apparently was given the poll before it was made public.

Frumin declined the offer, questioning the reliability of the poll. Silverman then followed up with another e-mail. In that e-mail, Silverman wrote she would be “happy to support and endorse” Frumin if he “decided on a run in Ward 3 or if another seat opened up.”

The e-mail exchanges follow.

From Silverman to Frumin: April 14, 10:01 a.m.

Hi Matt,

I’m sure you’re swamped so I’ll keep my message brief. I ask you to

keep this confidential.

I’ve attached results from this poll that has been talked about, which

is being funded by the marijuana folks.

It surveyed 1600 registered voters. Of course, we don’t know if they

are likely voters but I think the survey has some merit because it is

my gut feeling from the field. Half of voters haven’t decided but

Anita is ahead, Mara and I are neck and neck and you follow. The

marijuana people want the Post to do a story tomorrow.

I know how much time and energy you have put into this campaign as

well as your family. I do think the results show that there is

potential for Anita to win and I don’t think that is good for our

city. I actually think Anita is a nice person, but just like Mayor

Gray, she is tied to people who don’t act in our city’s best interests

and that is my issue with her.

I know you and Ken spoke. Our campaign’s feeling is that voters are

deciding between you and me, not Mara. I know you want the best for

our city. I think this shows I have a bit more momentum and citywide

reach. I think working together, we can see a progressive win this

seat and swing momentum toward an agenda we both want. I’d hate for

the difference in the election to be a few hundred votes.

I know you always act in the best interests of the community Matt.

This is not easy for me to write, because I’ve seen how hard you and

Jophie have worked. I thought about if the tables were turned how

difficult this would be to tell supporters. But ultimately I think

both our supporters want change and reform at the Wilson Building. I

would be happy to talk about how I can help reach your goals in the

future, because I’d love to see you remain a vocal school and reform


Thanks for hearing me out.


From Frumin to Silverman: April 15, 1:30 p.m.

As you might imagine, there is a ton about the attached poll that calls into question its likely accuracy as a guide of what might happen on April 23rd.  As you suggest, one area is who are the likely voters.  The poll does not appear to even attempt to discern that and appears to be based on registered voters and then suggests close to 70% of them will definitely vote.  Perhaps I am missing something but that does not strike me as likely.  Even with all the grounds for skepticism the poll invites, it puts the figure of undecideds at 43% -- all kinds of room for dramatic movement. 

There is just no way a poll like this one could form the basis for the kind of decision you are asking me to make.  I do not fault you for making the suggestion, but cannot imagine you would react differently in my shoes.  

All the best,

Matthew Frumin

From Silverman to Frumin: April 15, 2:31 p.m.

Hi Matt,

This is where momentum takes over. Undecided voters are undecided because they want to choose someone who can win and they feel they are pushing that person to victory. I think the poll--in the absence of Nate Silver--creates a narrative that will be hard to push against.

I do think we agree on public policy approaches but it is scope and implementation that creates the difference. I ran Matt because I wanted to create a roadmap for other progressives to run and create the infrastructure so that others wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. I would be happy to support and endorse you if you decided on a run in Ward 3 or if another seat opened up. 

The race is status quo in Bonds or Mara against a progressive Democrat. It’s up to us whether we win or lose.