Monday, April 22, 2013

At-large council candidate Silverman tries to get opponent to drop out with alleged quid pro quo

The race for at-large city council, which ends tomorrow, is getting interesting. In a move seemingly taken from student government, at-large council candidate Elissa Silverman met last week with opponent Matthew Frumin, asking him to drop out of the race so she has a better chance of beating incumbent Anita Bonds and Republican school board member Patrick Mara.

Both Silverman and Frumin verified the meeting took place, and Frumin said Silverman's campaign explicitly suggested that if he did drop out of the race, she'd do everything she could to help him run against Mary Cheh later this year in the general election. Silverman's side says there was no proposed quid pro quo. Frumin said he has no interest in running against Cheh.

If this is true, to me it really undermines Silverman's whole premise for her campaign, that she's a progressive who is beyond the usual shady council politics. This plan, however, is the definition of the usual shady council politics. (Well, almost, at least there wasn't any money changing hands.)

Silverman's progressive bona fides include being the former writer of the City Paper's Loose Lips column about local politics, and currently works for the DC Fiscal Policy Institute as a budget analyst.

I'm sure this kind of proposed deal happens a lot in DC, but that doesn't make it right, and offering such a deal while trying to say you're a different kind of politician is completely tone deaf and absurd to me. Why not just drive around in a black-on-black Lincoln Navigator while you're at it, Kwame Brown-style?

Silverman already rubbed me the wrong way earlier in the campaign when she attacked Patrick Mara for accepting a campaign donation from an anti-statehood PAC. Mara said he wasn't aware of the group's politics and had learned of it and returned the money even before Silverman complained. Meanwhile Silverman accepted a donation from Sinclair Skinner, who is best known as a guy who uses racial politics against his friends' opponents. He's been written about numerous times by the Post and City Paper and actually by Silverman herself..... Among some of his antics were a campaign against Jim Graham when Graham shut down a nightclub in the Reeves Center, a DC government building, after a man was killed in a stabbing there. Sinclair is alleged to have put up posters calling Graham "Graham-zilla the Black Business Killa," and also saying some homophobic stuff about him. Needless to say, I don't think he's somebody Silverman should be taking money from, especially not when she's criticizing other people's donors.

It's a bizarre and unfortunate turn from Silverman. Her website says "Her campaign is focused on integrity, accountability, and strategic investment in the District." If this is the kind of integrity she plans to use while in office, then no thanks.

The election is tomorrow! So make sure you vote!

UPDATE: Silverman released the emails she sent to Frumin, and Ken Archer, who works on her campaign, said it was more of a chat between friends with theoreticals. It still rubs me the wrong way, especially after she also tried to get Paul Zukerberg kicked off the ballot earlier.



    Looking at the emails that Silverman released, this does not appear to be so bad at all and actually proves her to be transparent.

    Mara is having Chris Christie make robo calls for him and on election day his campaign is doing calls from the GOP RNC national headquarters while he conveniently left this part out. Just today it was announced an ethical inquiry began into Mara's former campaigns. Why no mention of that in this post?

    Bonds is pretty much a tool of the crooked crony establishment and unfortunately is favored to win.

  2. Perhaps, but it doesn't take into account any actual conversations about this. It sounds like Frumin and Archer from Silverman's campaign chatted.

  3. Also I haven't heard any of those things about Mara. Will look into them.

  4. Silverman is appealing to what she thinks is a shared vision. People love a scandal, but this shouldn't rise to the occasion, especially since she released the emails. Does anyone really disagree with her analysis?
    -Jenny H

  5. Her analysis may be correct, but like I said, there were also phone calls about this alleged plan. Even if she didn't promise to help Frumin against Cheh, it rubs me the wrong way. It's not progressive. If you're going to beat someone, beat them on your own merit.

  6. Read Ken Archer's twitter feed (@kenarcherdc) for talk about how he and Frumin discussed the campaign. There's more to this story than what's being printed in the paper, seemingly.

  7. she also said DC votes like to pay taxes. ummmm no we don't. Especially, those of us who rarely receive anything in return for them.

    I am voting Mara all the way! This will be the first time i have ever voted GOP!

  8. Good post, but I think you meant to say "Needless to say, I don't think he's somebody Silverman SHOULD be taking money from..."

  9. This sounds like transparent coalition-building to me.


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