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Next year’s April primary date has been criticized as too early, with opponents, including Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, saying that its requirement that candidates gather petitions during the winter holidays amounts to an “incumbent protection act.” Now the early primary may have foiled its first would-be challenger.
Elissa Silverman, who came in second to Anita Bonds in April’s special election for an at-large D.C. Council seat, emailed supporters today saying that she won’t run against Bonds next year. Silverman, a former Washington City Paper Loose Lips columnist, says she can’t enter next April’s primary because of how the early primary would affect her bank account.
In order to run, Silverman says she’d have to leave behind her job as the spokeswoman for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and the salary—-$66,133 a year, as of her April tax returns—-that comes with it. If she won the primary, she would have been out of work for 14 months by her January 2015 swearing-in. (Of course, if she ran and lost, she could go back to work sooner.)
“There’s a reason why people with moderate incomes don’t run for office in our city,” Silverman says.
Silverman’s finances might be better off if she changed her party registration and ran as an independent for the at-large seat reserved for non-Democrats. She’d be able to avoid both the winter petition season and have a few more months at her job.
But Silverman, so willing to talk about her bank account and publish her tax returns, clams up when it comes to whether she’s thinking about running for the set-aside. “I’m not a candidate for the Democratic primary at this time,” she says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery