Photo by Keith Ivey on Flickr.

It’s a perennial question in DC politics and one that’s likely to arise in this year’s mayoral race: If your favorite candidate isn’t considered highly likely to win, should you vote for your favorite, or pick the best of the frontrunners if you feel there is a clear difference between them?

Reader Max faces this dilemma. He wrote this letter (before the Washington Post endorsed Muriel Bowser):

The race is highly congested with none of the candidates really gaining much momentum.  The candidate doing the best is probably the worst on GGW issues and that’s Bowser (exhibit A).

As I see it, its a choice between Gray and Wells. ... I am personally torn. I gave Wells a small contribution, but right now would vote for Gray because he has a better chance of beating Bowser.  Is it worth the risk to support a guy that may peak at 25%, instead of backing Gray who has been a very solid mayor and who could lose to someone that stands for absolutely nothing.



Note: Neither I nor Greater Greater Washington have made any endorsements yet, and we will be posting video of interviews with the candidates so that readers can make up their own minds. You will be able to see my discussion with Bowser, so that you can decide for yourself if she is bad on Greater Greater Washington’s issues, or not, before hearing the contributors’ opinion. But I have certainly spoken to a number of people who feel the same way as Max.

The Washington Post’s endorsement really should not come as much of a surprise, whether you agree with it or not. Muriel Bowser is one of the most closely aligned to the Post editorial board’s view on a number of issues. For example, she is a more conservative Democrat on fiscal matters, as are the members of the editorial board. Harry Jaffe predicted this outcome weeks ago. Still, their choice will influence many voters who have less personal knowledge of the candidates and the Post editors.

As a result, some voters who prefer a candidate other than Gray or Bowser have considered switching their support to the candidate among those two who they consider best, or at least not worst. What do you think Max, and voters thinking along similar lines, should do?

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.