A.J. Cooper drops out of race for D.C. at-large council seat

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Local,DC,Eric P. Newcomer,D.C. Council

A candidate in this year's special election for an at-large council seat dropped out of the race and threw his support behind Elissa Silverman.

A.J. Cooper, a D.C. native, community activist and former host of BET's show "Teen Summit," withdrew from the race and endorsed Silverman Wednesday, according to an announcement made by Silverman's campaign.

The April 23 election will fill the seat currently held by D.C. Councilwoman Anita Bonds, who is also running to keep the seat.

News of the endorsement seemed to take Bonds, who is also the chairwoman of the D.C. Democratic Party, by surprise Wednesday.

"That will be a mistake for him - but that's OK for him," she said.

In her announcement, Silverman wrote that she is excited to work with Cooper: "I look forward to campaigning with A.J. and talking about issues of concern for both of us: how we restore public trust and integrity to our local government; how we build high-performing public schools across the city to create lifelong opportunities for our residents; and how we strategically use our resources to close the opportunity gap and make sure the District is a dynamic, inclusive city."

A number of candidates are expected to submit signatures to enter the race. Paul Zukerberg, an attorney who wants to legalize marijuana in the District, was the first candidate to submit the 3,000 signatures necessary to join the race. Candidates have until Jan. 23 to do so.

enewcomer@washingtonexaminer.com

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