Montgomery County Council member Sidney Katz Credit: County Council photo

District 3 incumbent Katz latest council candidate to meet threshold for public funding

District 3 County Council member Sidney Katz, facing a competitive re-election challenge, is the latest candidate to fulfill the requirements for receiving funds from Montgomery County’s new public campaign finance system.

Katz received a boost from some well-known names in county political and business circles in doing so.

In a filing Tuesday with the state Board of Elections, Katz reported 165 donations of $150 or less, totaling just under $15,000. If Katz’s request is approved, as expected, it will entitle his campaign to a disbursement of about $49,250 in public campaign subsidies at the end of this month.

Candidates for district council seats must receive at least 125 qualifying donations, totaling a minimum of $10,000, to receive public funding.

Katz, a long-time mayor of Gaithersburg prior to his election to the County Council in 2014, is being challenged in next June’s Democratic primary by political operative and local activist Benjamin Shnider. Shnider, along with other candidates relying exclusively on private contributions, will be required to report his 2017 fundraising in January. 

Of 17 candidates who have filed or announced for district council seats in 2018, eight have chosen to go the public finance route. Katz becomes the third district candidate to qualify for public funds, joining District 1 Democrat Reggie Oldak and District 2 Republican Edward Amatetti.   

Fundraising reports accompanying Katz’s filing show him receiving contributions from outgoing County Executive Ike Leggett—who gave the maximum allowed donation of $150—as well as several candidates seeking election in 2018.

Former Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman, seeking the open District 1 seat, donated $150. The County Council’s former spokesman, Neil Greenberger, who is running for an at-large seat, gave $100, as did former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow, who recently announced her candidacy for county executive.

Several prominent local developers—Robert Buchanan, Paul Chod and Aris Mardirossian—each donated $150. The lead partners of a couple of large county law firms were also on Katz’s list: Robby Brewer of Lerch, Early and Brewer gave $150, and Larry Shulman of Shulman and Rogers, gave $50.

In addition, Katz’s predecessor, former four-term district Council member Phil Andrews, was a $150 contributor. Andrews, who now works in the state’s attorney’s office, authored the public campaign financing law before leaving the council at the end of 2014.

Louis Peck


Grimes, Geller and Barkley file to run for County Council at-large seats

Three Democratic candidates who previously announced their intentions to run for one of the four County Council at-large seats in 2018 formally filed to do so with the Maryland Board of Elections this month.

Del. Charles Barkley (D-Germantown) filed Nov. 9. He has served for more than 20 years in the General Assembly and chaired the House alcohol beverages subcommittee since 2009. He has a head start on fundraising over other candidates in the crowded field because he has about $205,000 in his state campaign account, according to his January campaign finance report.

Former Takoma Park City Council member Seth Grimes filed to run in the race on Nov. 17. Grimes is an environmental activist and co-founder of the community advocacy organization Takoma Park Mobilization. He filed to use the county’s new public campaign finance system.

Paul Geller, the former president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, filed to enter the race Nov. 15. He previously told Bethesda Beat he’d like to see the county focus on renovating and expanding public school buildings, rather than tear them down and completely rebuild them. The former vice president of the Council of PTAs, Melissa McKenna, is also running for one of the four at-large council seats.

The candidates are among two dozen Democrats running for at-large seats in the June 26 Democratic primary.

—Andrew Metcalf


Frick won county executive debate, according to informal Bethesda Beat poll

Bethesda Beat readers selected Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda) as the winner of last week’s county executive Democratic candidate debate in Chevy Chase. Frick received 53 of the 166 votes in the unscientific online poll posted on a Bethesda Beat story about the debate.

County planning department deputy director Rose Krasnow came in second after receiving 38 votes. She was followed by Council member George Leventhal with 30 votes, Council member Marc Elrich with 22 and Council member Roger Berliner with 16.

Potomac businessman David Blair received 7 votes in the poll, which was open for two days after the debate.

Andrew Metcalf


Hoeber endorsed by former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton

Republican District 6 congressional candidate Amie Hoeber, of Potomac, was endorsed Friday by former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton in the race for Rep. John Delaney’s seat. Bolton served as U.N. ambassador for a little more than a year during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Bolton plans to contribute $10,000 to Hoeber’s campaign through his PAC. Bolton said in a statement that Hoeber’s experience as a former deputy under secretary of the Army during the Reagan administration made him proud to endorse her.

Bolton has endorsed 19 candidates for Congress and donated about $185,000 to their 2018 campaigns.

Hoeber is running in the Republican primary against Potomac resident Lisa Lloyd, Matt Mossburg of Frederick and Bradley Rohrs of Germantown. The primary is June 26. 

– Andrew Metcalf