Reardon Sullivan (left) and Shelly Skolnick. Credit: File Photos

Reardon Sullivan, the recent chair of the county’s Republican Central Committee, said Friday he’s thankful to have won the Republican primary for county executive.

Sullivan, the head of Rockville engineering consulting company with more than 40 employees, was facing Skelly Skolnick, an attorney in elder law and adult guardianship cases, who said Friday that he didn’t expect to catch Sullivan’s vote tally with the counting of mail-in or provisional ballots. As of Friday afternoon, the State Board of Elections showed Sullivan with 9,244 votes (63.6%) and Skolnick with 5,290 votes (36.4%).

Skolnick, 79, said he and Sullivan, 62, conducted a “friendly” campaign and that he’ll support Sullivan in the November general election.

Sullivan said he was “honored to have been selected as the nominee and to be representing the Republican party in the general election.”

He said he wasn’t sure whether if the victory of state Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick and Carroll counties) over Kelly Schulz, a former cabinet member under Gov. Larry Hogan (R), in the gubernatorial primary played any role in his election efforts. Many political observers viewed Sullivan as more conservative than Skolnick, and Skolnick himself said he was running as a moderate Republican on the campaign trail.

Acknowledging the advantage that Democrats hold in the county, Sullivan has said that it will be difficult to run against either County Executive Marc Elrich or David Blair, a businessman who is challenging him and who currently leads the Democratic race by less than 600 votes, according to the State Board of Elections.

As of July 6, there were 407,424 registered Democrats and 97,610 registered Republicans in Montgomery County, State Board of Elections data shows.

“They’re both very experienced candidates,” Sullivan said of Elrich, 72, and Blair, 52. “I think that Marc has been a successful politician in Montgomery County for a very long time, and he has a lot of pull and resources in the county.”

“David Blair has a significant amount of money on one side, and also his platform on a lot of things is similar to mine, so there’s a lot of commonality and it will be more difficult to differentiate myself from him,” he added, noting they both support school resource officers in public schools and goals related to economic development and job creation.

Sullivan said he has great respect for both Democratic candidates and knows that like him, they both are trying to do what’s best for the county. 

Skolnick considering run for County Council District 1

Skolnick said he has asked the county’s Board of Elections about whether he can run a write-in campaign to be the Republican candidate in County Council District 1, which covers Bethesda, Potomac, most of Chevy Chase and nearby areas.

Andrew Friedson, a Democrat who was elected in 2018 to the seat, is currently running unopposed. He said Friday that he hadn’t heard of Skolnick’s inquiry, but added he was running the same campaign regardless of whether he has an opponent, and he looked forward to talking with district residents in the coming months.

If Skolnick is able to run for the seat, he said he would still run on his positions of offering free community college tuition to younger employees in county government and returning school resource officers to public schools, along with opposing the county’s public campaign finance system and supporting the idea of having 11 council districts instead of 7 districts and four at-large seats.

Gilberto Zelaya, a spokesman for the county’s Board of Elections, said Friday he hadn’t heard of Skolnick’s inquiry and declined to comment further. David Naimon, secretary for the Board of Elections, wrote in a text message that he didn’t know the answer to whether Skolnick could run.

According to state law, the county’s Republican Central Committee might play a role. The law says:

“A vacancy in nomination for an office that is entirely in one county shall be filled by:

(1) a central committee in that county as provided in this section; or

(2) a State central committee for a nonprincipal political party that does not have a local central committee.” 

The State Board of Elections did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment by email.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com 

Steve Bohnel

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com