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With Primary Over, D.C. Hopefuls Turn Eye To Next Election

The D.C. primary may be only two days old, but that's not stopping hopeful contenders from preparing for the next election.

Both Elissa Silverman and Rev. Graylan Hagler announced today that they're eyeing the At-Large D.C. Council that will be vacated by Council member David Catania, who is mounting an independent bid for mayor against Democratic nominee Muriel Bowser.

In an email to supporters, Silverman, who came in second to Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) during an April 2013 special election, wrote that she was leaving her job at the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute to mull the run.

"I've made this decision so that I can consider another at-large run for the D.C. Council this November. A few weeks ago, I changed my voter registration to independent," she wrote.

Hagler, a minister at the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, tweeted his own intentions this afternoon, writing: "We need to change the politics of D.C. so that working people are represented."

It wouldn't be Hagler's first run: In 2007 he tried for the Ward 4 seat on the Council, which was won by Bowser.

Both Silverman and Hagler are self-identified progressives who have advocated for a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave for restaurant workers. Silverman ran her 2013 campaign without corporate contributions, a move followed by Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) in his mayoral campaign and Charles Allen, who won the Democratic nomination for the Ward 6 seat on the Council.

Catania holds one of two seats set aside for members of the non-majority political party, in this case the Democratic Party. D.C. law prohibits him from running both for re-election and the mayor's office. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large), who was formerly a Democrat, defeated former Council member Michael Brown in November 2012.

Bonds will be the Democratic nominee for her At-Large seat in November, but since the highest vote-getters — including any non-Democrat — win the two available seats, she remains vulnerable.

Silverman and Hagler's announcements again bring to light the practice of Democrats changing their political affiliation to run for office. In January, former ANC commissioner Bryan Weaver announced that he was dropping his Democratic affiliation to run as an independent for the Ward 1 seat on the Council.

It's not just November that may soon be attracting candidates: Should Bowser win in November's general election, she'll have to vacate her Ward 4 seat, requiring a special election early next year.


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