Montgomery County Education Association endorses Balcombe and Mink

The Montgomery County Education Association has added County Council District 2 candidate Marilyn Balcombe and County Council District 5 candidate Kristin Mink to its list of endorsements for the Nov. 8 general election. 

The teachers union includes the names of all candidates it has voted to endorse on its Apple Ballot. 

MCEA members at the Representative Assembly voted Sept. 7 on endorsements for the County Council and Board of Education. A supermajority of 58% of the vote was needed to endorse a candidate.     

All endorsed council candidates who won nominations during the primary will continue to be endorsed by MCEA. These include District 1 candidate Andrew Friedson, District 3 candidate Sidney Katz, District 4 candidate Kate Stewart, District 6 candidate Natali Fani-Gonzalez, District 7 candidate Dawn Luedtke, and at-large candidates Laurie-Anne Sayles, Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass and Will Jawando. MCEA also endorses incumbent Marc Elrich for county executive. All endorsed council candidates are Democrats, as is Elrich.

In the school board races, MCEA voted to endorse District 1 candidate Grace Rivera-Oven, District 3 candidate Julie Yang and District 5 candidate Valerie Coll.

In addition to the newly endorsed candidates, MCEA members overwhelmingly voted to take a position of “no position” in the school board at-large race. Karla Silvestre and Mike Erickson are the candidates in the at-large race. In a press release, Political Action and Community Engagement Chair Dustin Jeter said “members believed that parsing out individual responsibility for the current Board of Education’s role in how things have gone for our students and teachers is a futile task when the issues currently plaguing our school system are a collective failure of each incumbent during their time in office. It is why we have proudly endorsed two challengers to two current incumbents, and we look forward to flexing our collective power to ensure that all our endorsed candidates win their respective elections.”

— Ginny Bixby

Elrich apologizes for 9/11 gaffe

County Executive Marc Elrich apologized on Twitter on Monday for a tweet he posted Sunday about the number of people killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I apologize for my tweet that got the number of victims who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks wrong. This was something that should have been checked numerous times but was not. I did not mean to enrage, provoke or hurt anyone. The error will not be repeated,” Elrich wrote.

In the original tweet, Elrich cited 2,996 deaths.

“Today marks the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country. Our hearts ache for the families of the 2,996 people killed including the 11 people from Montgomery County lost in the attack on the Pentagon. We vowed then to never forget and we still honor that pledge,” he wrote. 

However, there is some discrepancy over the correct number of fatalities resulting from the attacks. Last year, authorities identified two more people who were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, NBC News reported, with authorities stating 2,977 people died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93. 

Other sources use the same number Elrich did or report a different number. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City reports 2,983 deaths, and some sources choose to include in the death toll the more than 2,000 people who survived the attacks, but have died as a result of illnesses such as cancer sustained from toxic exposure during the incidents. 

— Ginny Bixby

At Wes Moore speech, unity is an underlying theme 

As dozens of Democrats filed into the dining room at Zinnia in Silver Spring on Monday morning, numerous politicos filled chairs waiting to hear from gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore, whom they hope will be sworn into the state’s highest political office in January. 

Among the crowd were those who had punched their ticket in the July primary to run in the general election in November, including at-large County Council candidate Laurie-Anne Sayles and Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart, running for the council’s District 4 seat representing North Bethesda, Kensington, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. There were also those candidates who had just fallen short, including Scott Goldberg, whom Sayles had beaten. 

And there were also candidates who were facing off in the general election, such as school board member Scott Joftus, who will face former MCPS educator Julie Yang in the race for the board’s District 3 seat. The school board race is nonpartisan.

Former county executive Ike Leggett, who served from 2006 to 2018, told the crowd that it was important for Democrats to unite and vote for their fellow candidates in the Nov. 8 general election. And he thanked those who ran, but who came up short.

“They all ran excellent races … it’s like going to the Super Bowl, where the best teams are playing [at the end],” Leggett said.

— Steve Bohnel