When news broke this spring that D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute spokeswoman (and former Washington City Paper staff writer) Elissa Silverman had asked a rival for the April at-large D.C. Council special election to drop out and endorse her, it caused a bit of a stir among political observers. But not for the reason it should have: Silverman, as it turned out, was right. The rival, Ward 3 activist Matt Frumin, wound up getting only 11 percent of the vote. Silverman, who finished second, got 26 percent. Incumbent Anita Bonds, who won, stayed in office with the backing of a mere 31 percent of the voters who showed up to vote. Silverman and Frumin both ran on similar platforms, and both were equally unlikely to have preferred Bonds or Republican Pat Mara, who came in third, to hold the seat instead. It wasn’t the first time D.C.’s band of would-be reformers had won, in total, more votes than the establishment-backed candidates they opposed, only to see the establishment candidate take office: The same thing happened in an at-large race in 2012, and in 2011. (And with three candidates lining up to challenge incumbent Jim Graham in Ward 1 next year, it may happen again there.) Would a more gimlet-eyed look at who has the best chance to win really be a sell-out of reformers’ principles?