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Anita Bonds Wins D.C. Special Election, Budget Referendum Passes

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Anita Bonds had been acting as interim D.C. Council member prior to the election.
NBC Washington
Anita Bonds had been acting as interim D.C. Council member prior to the election.

Anita Bonds is the winner of D.C.'s special at-large election. Bonds defeated five other candidates in a close race that featured low voter turnout.

Less than 10 percent of registered DC voters cast a ballot -- one of the lowest turnouts in city history.

Bonds, a Democrat who has long been active in District politics, was endorsed by many of D.C.'s elected officials and council members. During her victory speech she made a point of thanking two of the city's longest serving politicians for helping get the message out.

"Marion Barry's robocalls I think hit the spot, but you know, there was another robocall that went out and hit the spots: Jack Evans. So together, they took care of the world of the District of Columbia in a big way," Bonds said.

Bonds finished with about 32 percent of the vote.

During her speech she said she looked forward to getting down to work.

"When we think about budget surpluses and we think about poverty, we know we have to get in there, dig in there, and try to make a difference for all the citizens of the District of Columbia," Bonds said. "That's my commitment and I know it's yours too."

Coming in second at 28 percent, Democrat Elissa Silverman, a former reporter and budget analyst. Silverman, whose campaign focused on good government issues and progressive policies, surprised many with her strong showing.

Republican Patrick Mara, who had earned a slew of endorsements during race from the Washington Post to the Sierra Club, finished third with 23 percent.

"Obviously came up a little bit short, but very happy with the engagement of new people in District politics, and I'm just excited we ran a positive campaign," Mara said.

At an election watch party in Columbia Heights, Mara said he was proud of his campaign, which faced an uphill battle in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 11 to 1.

Matt Frumin, Paul Zuckerberg and Perry Redd rounded out the rest of the field.

Also on the ballot, a referendum to give the District more say over how it spends its local tax dollars. District voters overwhelmingly approved the measure and it will become.

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