Anita Bonds, a political insider and former aide to Marion Barry who was selected in December to temporarily fill a vacancy on the District of Columbia Council, was victorious in her bid on April 23 to hold onto the seat.

Bonds (D-At Large) won out over five other candidates—three Democrats, a Republican and a Statehood Green Party candidate.

At a victory party April 23 at the Channel Inn at the waterfront in Southwest Washington, Bonds’ closest supporters gathered to celebrate her win. Among the revelers were Council members Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who danced with other supporters.

Bonds, 68, chairman of the District of Columbia State Committee, which selected her to fill the vacant seat, works as an executive for a D.C. contractor. At the victory party, she pledged to represent the entire city, though she struggled to create a coalition that included all of its wards during her campaign. Most of the people who voted for her were African Americans. Her victory in the diverse field demonstrated the continuing voting power of Blacks in the city, political watchers said.

“We care about the city,” Bonds said to supporters at the celebration. “We care about where we live. We care about how we live and we care about how we want to live in the future.”

Voters also approved a charter amendment that would allow them more control over spending local tax funds. Congress will have a chance to pass legislation to prevent the amendment from taking effect, however.

Bonds won the seat in an election with a decidedly low turnout. D.C. Board of Elections officials estimated that fewer than 15 percent of registered voters would show up at the polls. On the day of the election, even fewer voted. The April 23 election marked the seventh time in less than three years that voters in the District headed to the polls.

The seat in contention April 23 was left vacant when Phil Mendelson (D) was elevated to council chairman after the previous council chair, Kwame R. Brown, resigned. He was sentenced to house arrest after admitting that he lied on two bank loan applications.

Bonds was considered the front runner throughout the campaign. Democrat Elissa Silverman, a former reporter, came in second and Patrick Mara, a Republican who hoped to establish a foothold in a D.C.’s leadership in the wake of shifting demographics in the jurisdiction in recent years, came in third. Other candidates included Democrats Matthew Frumin and Paul Zukerberg and Statehood Green Party candidate Perry Redd.


Zachary Lester

AFRO Staff Writer