Pinto, 27, is a 2017 graduate of the Georgetown University School of Law who has worked in the attorney general’s office for two years. She resigned last week so she can focus on her campaign. The Connecticut native has lived in Ward 2 for six years, since moving to the District for law school.
She is running with the encouragement of Racine after working on legislation to address hate crimes, data breaches and deceptive charity practices — experience she said would give her a leg up as a new council member.
“This is the job that I’ve been doing for two years, meeting with groups, distilling policy, drafting the legislation and working with the council to get bills passed,” Pinto said. “This seat will have been vacant since January, and we need someone to get in there who is not learning on the job.”
Other candidates include advisory neighborhood commissioners Patrick Kennedy, Kishan Putta and John Fanning, former federal and D.C. government worker Jordan Grossman, and local activists Daniel Hernandez and Yilin Zhang. The filing deadline to submit signatures to qualify for the ballot is March 4.
Evans has not publicly commented on his decision to run again and has declined multiple interview requests. He was spotted by several Ward 2 residents over the weekend collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot at a Safeway and the Dupont Circle farmers market.
Most of the candidates are running to the left of Evans, who was one of the most fiscally conservative and business-friendly members of the council, with some candidates such as Fanning and Putta placing more emphasis on parochial ward issues.
Pinto said her platform includes helping small businesses, agency oversight and national advocacy for D.C. statehood. She never mentioned Evans in a 20-minute interview and says she does not plan to run a negative campaign.
The primary is June 2, and the special election to complete the remainder of Evans’s term, through January, is June 16. Katherine Venice, a Republican, is also running in the special election.
Some of Evans’s critics have feared he could win his old seat back with a plurality if his challengers split the opposition vote.
Pinto is the only candidate who is not using the city’s new public financing program, which allows candidates to receive matching dollars if they collect enough small donations from D.C. residents.
Racine’s office has been a launchpad for other council candidates, including incumbents Robert C. White Jr. (D-At Large) and Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8). Janeese Lewis George, a former juvenile prosecutor in Racine’s office, is challenging council member Brandon T. Todd (D-Ward 4) in the Democratic primary.
Racine said in an interview that he was impressed by Pinto’s grasp of complex legal and policy matters and would do whatever he could to support her candidacy.
“She’s mature beyond her years and has shown palpable leadership ability and is a demonstrably compassionate individual,” he said.