The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Mayor’s donor network continues pumping cash into Dionne Reeder’s council bid

Dionne Reeder, left, and Elissa Silverman. (LEFT: Rachel Chason/The Washington Post; RIGHT: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Dionne Reeder, left, and Elissa Silverman. (LEFT: Rachel Chason/The Washington Post; RIGHT: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

D.C. Council candidate Dionne Reeder has continued raising money at a breakneck pace with help from the fundraising muscle of Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), according to newly released campaign finance reports.

Reeder (I) raised $118,000 in 18 days, between Oct. 11 and Oct. 29, in her bid to unseat council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large). About a third of those contributions are dated Oct. 24, when Bowser headlined a U Street fundraiser for Reeder.

Silverman raised $71,000 in the same period.

After outspending the incumbent, Reeder had a slight edge in available cash a week before Election Day: $65,000 to Silverman’s $59,000.

With Bowser and other top city elected officials facing nominal competition next week, the at-large council race has shaped up as the most competitive of the D.C. election season.

Silverman, who is running for a second term, has been a reliable progressive vote on the council. She has clashed with the Bowser administration as she’s conducted oversight of various city agencies and programs. Reeder, a restaurant co-owner and longtime community activist in Southeast Washington, is running as a more business-friendly alternative.

Since launching her campaign more than a year ago, Reeder has raised more than $310,000 to Silverman’s $240,000. But as recently as August, Reeder had just $5,000 in her campaign account. The gush of money came after the mayor’s endorsement in late September.

Reeder’s haul is more than any candidate for an at-large council seat has collected by this point in the past three cycles.

Reeder has been buoyed by well-heeled donors in the business and development community, as well as the mayor’s allies.

In the most recent fundraising period, three-quarters of her fundraising came from 87 donors who gave the maximum $1,000. She received contributions from a plethora of developers, including $1,000 each from Norman Jemal, John Akridge and Adam Weers of the Trammel Crow company.

Silverman, who declines corporate campaign contributions, relies more on small donors. About 70 percent of her latest haul came from people who gave $250 or less.

Voters in November can choose two candidates for at-large council seats; one of those seats is reserved for someone who is not from the party in power — in this case, Democrats. Council member Anita Bonds (D) is widely expected to take one of the seats and win reelection. Independent candidate Rustin Lewis, Statehood Green Party candidate David Schwartzman and Republican Ralph Chittams Sr. are also on the ballot. They have raised little campaign cash.

Read more about the at-large council race

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Race infuses bitter D.C. Council contest in a divided city

Reeder promised a paid family leave plan, but now says wait until Election Day