The Union Kitchen spread is chocolaty and delicious and the Porkslap free-flowing, but there's a growing sense of unease at Elissa Silverman's election-night party as the at-large D.C. Council returns trickle in. Silverman's currently in a solid second place, but 10 percentage points behind incumbent Anita Bonds with more than half of precincts reporting.
So how does Silverman (a former Washington City Paper staffer, and the paper's endorsed candidate in today's election, pictured above with supporter Rob Waldeck at the party) feel about her chances? She's noncommittal. "I ran a very strong campaign, and that was my goal, to change the discussion in the special election," she says. "We didn't have any of the party institutional resources that Anita and Pat [Mara] did."
Asked if she thought she had a realistic chance of winning going into the evening, she says, "I thought it depended where the votes came from and what the turnout was like."
But for her uncertainty about the outcome, she's clear on one thing: The media got it all wrong. "I don't want to rant about how you got this wrong," she says, then proceeds to do exactly that. "'This is a race between Anita and Pat,'" she says, mocking the conventional wisdom. Instead, Mara's struggled to meet expectations, while Silverman's comfortably in second place. "There was such a focus on Ward 3," she says, "and my base is Ward 6."
Two councilmembers have turned out to support Silverman: David Grosso, who was the only one to endorse her, and Tommy Wells, who did not endorse, saying tonight that he didn't want to turn this race into a proxy for a future mayoral race between himself and Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who had backed Bonds. I ask Grosso why he chose to endorse Silverman when most of his colleagues went with frontrunner Bonds.
"I went with the one I thought would do the best job and would work well with me," he says.
That's if she succeeds in working with him at all. As of now, the odds are against it.
Photo by Aaron Wiener