A committee of District Democratic insiders on Monday elected Anita Bonds, a longtime party operative and lobbyist, to an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Bonds, 67, defeated two rivals in her bid for the post, which she will hold until regulators certify the results of a special election scheduled for April 23.

 “This is a little overwhelming,” Bonds said after her landslide win. "I was very hopeful this would be the result, but you never know until the cows are home.”

Bonds will fill the seat formerly held by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who ascended to the city’s top legislative job following Kwame Brown’s resignation. Mendelson won a Nov. 6 special election to finish Brown’s term, creating a vacancy in his previous at-large seat.

Bonds will join the D.C. Council after easily besting John Capozzi and Douglass Sloan in a vote of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, which she chairs. City law gives the party committee the authority to select interim at-large lawmakers until the District can hold a citywide special election.

Bonds won 55 of the 71 votes that were cast Monday night -- 77 percent of the vote.

Though she has never held citywide office, Bonds is not a newcomer to the District’s political scene. She is a protégé of Marion Barry, the city’s longest-serving mayor, and helped to jumpstart his career in municipal politics.

"You made a wise choice," Barry told the crowd following the vote. "She cares about the least among us."

But Bonds resisted characterizations that she will be an automatic supporter of Barry's agenda.

"I'm entirely different from Marion Barry," she said.

Bonds has also been an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 5 and took over the local Democratic committee six years ago.

In the corporate world, Bonds is a top official at Fort Myer Construction Corp., a major District contractor that does tens of millions of dollars in business with the city every year. After winning Monday night, she backed off a bit from earlier comments that she intends to take a leave of absence from her corporate work while awaiting the special election and that she would likely leave the company if she wins in April.

She is poised to encounter plenty more rivals in the springtime contest. While few people have formally announced runs, several people who could emerge as leading contenders — including former Councilman Sekou Biddle and outgoing at-large Councilman Michael Brown — have stayed mum about their intentions.

Contact Alan Blinder at ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com.