Cooper Explains Silverman Support
D.C. Council candidate A.J. Cooper has withdrawn from the April 23 special election and has decided to back Elissa Silverman to permanently fill the at-large D.C. Council member position previously held by Phil Mendelson.
"I gave it an honest look and I saw how the race was shaping up," said Cooper, 32. "What I saw was a number of Democrats, a Statehood Green candidate and one Romney Republican. That was not right."
The "Romney Republican" Cooper refers to is D.C. State Board of Education member Patrick Mara.
"... I decided to be the adult in the room and step out of the race. I would have taken votes away from Democrats and that would have ultimately hurt the residents of the city."
Cooper ran in the Nov. 6 general election as an independent to claim one of the two at-large seats for the D.C. Council. A political novice, he got six percent of the vote in a race where the victors turned out to be D.C. Council member Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and David Grosso, an independent who upset D.C. Council member Michael Brown (I-At Large).
Cooper said that he is supporting Silverman – a former journalist for the Washington City Paper, The Washington Post and has worked as a budget analyst for the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute in Northeast – because she is knowledgeable about issues and how to make the city work.
"When I was working on issues on teen pregnancy, Elissa was with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and she knew the numbers," he said. "When I found out she was running, I called her and she returned my call within 30 minutes."
Cooper said he's impressed with Silverman and has decided to join her team. He collected signatures for her during the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Walk in Southeast on Saturday, Jan. 19. When asked why he didn't back an African American in the race, he cited Silverman's credentials and commitment but made a comment that could apply to anyone in the race.
"I want someone who will work for the people who have no voice and not seek fame," he said. "I am not supporting anyone who is seeking a parking space at the John A. Wilson Building."
New D.C. GOP Team
The D.C. Republican Committee announced that Ronald Phillips and Robert Turner II, an African American, have been elected by party members to serve as the chairman and executive director, respectively. The newly-elected team replaces Robert Kabel as the chairman and Nick Fentress as executive director.
The election took place on Jan. 10 and the elections were largely uncontested. Phillips is the owner of Republic Consultants, LLC and Turner is the current president of the D.C. Chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans.
"As chairman, my goal is to end the era of one-party rule in the city," Phillips said. "To succeed, we must take our message of limited government and more personal freedom to all of the District's wards and to voters of all races, ethnicities, orientations and income brackets."
Turner said that he also wants a "more inclusive Republican Party."
"It is time for a change of leadership in the [John A.] Wilson Building and it's our party's responsibility to provide voters with an alternative."
Jill Homan, who was elected as the District's committeewoman to the Republican National Committee, embraces the new team and said that electing Ward 1 D.C. State Board of Education member Patrick Mara to the at-large position on the D.C. Council should be its main priority.
"We share the desire to have a successful urban GOP party presence in all eight wards," said Homan, 38. "We as a team will fully support Patrick Mara's race for the D.C. Council and we want it to be a success. We want to make the D.C. Council bipartisan."