Gay Republican Tim Day, who was endorsed by the Washington Post last year in his unsuccessful run for the Ward 5 City Council seat, has surprised fellow Republicans by endorsing Democrat Anita Bonds in this year’s special election for an at-large Council seat.
Day’s decision to back Bonds over Republican contender Patrick Mara is expected to strain his ties with the D.C. Republican Party. He resigned as a member of the D.C. Republican Committee after informing party leaders he would be backing Bonds instead of Mara.
Bonds and Mara are strong supporters of LGBT rights. Both supported the city’s same-sex marriage law before the City Council passed it in 2009.
The D.C. Democratic State Committee, which Bonds chaired, appointed her in December to the at-large Council seat on an interim basis until the special election is held on April 23. The seat became vacant after Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) won election last year as Council chair.
Bonds and Mara are among 20 candidates competing for the seat in what many political observers say will be a low turnout election in which Mara has a shot at winning. Some political pundits say the Democratic candidates – including former Council member Michael Brown, former City Paper columnist Elissa Silverman and D.C. voting rights activist John Capozzi – will likely split the Democratic vote, enabling Mara to win if large numbers of Republicans and independents turn out to vote for him.
Day told the Blade he and Bonds, a Ward 5 resident, are longtime friends. He said Bonds, 67, has a wealth of experience in local government and politics and would continue to be an excellent Council member.
The deadline for the 20 candidates who entered the race to submit their nominating petitions to the D.C. Board of Elections was the end of the business day on Wednesday.