Political Roundup: Delegate Endorses Katz’s Challenger in County Council Race

Political Roundup: Delegate Endorses Katz’s Challenger in County Council Race

Plus: County's recreation director files for at-large council race; two unions back Manno; O'Malley endorses Fosselman

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District 3 County Council candidate Ben Shnider, left, has been endorsed by the county's House Delegation Chair Shane Robinson, right

Provided photo, State of Maryland

Shnider lands endorsement of Shane Robinson

District 3 Democratic County Council candidate Ben Shnider, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Sidney Katz in the 2018 election, has secured the endorsement of Del. Shane Robinson (D-Montgomery Village), the county’s House delegation chair.

In challenging Katz, a longtime former Gaithersburg mayor, Shnider, 28, is putting forward a progressive platform that includes support for a $15-per-hour minimum wage, improving transit and establishing universal pre-kindergarten. Katz previously voted against a bill that would have raised the county’s minimum wage to $15 per hour incrementally over the next five years.

“I’ve known Ben for years and have seen him in action,” Robinson said in a statement. “I’m confident he’ll work tirelessly to ensure all members of our community can afford to live and thrive in Montgomery County.”

Robinson also said Shnider shares his commitment to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and creating a countywide waste management strategy focused on zero waste. Shnider most recently was a political director at the Israeli-Arab peace advocacy organization J Street.

Robinson has known Shnider’s family for several years. Shnider’s brother formerly worked as a legislative aide for Robinson, according to Shnider.

Shnider also landed the endorsement of District 17 Del. Andrew Platt (D-Gaithersburg). Platt said in a statement that he believes Shnider will “be a tireless advocate” for working families.

Shnider is trying to unseat one of the county’s longest-serving elected leaders. Prior to being elected to the council in 2014, Katz served as Gaithersburg mayor for 16 years.

The Maryland primary election takes place June 26, 2018.


Montgomery County recreation director files to run for at-large council seat

Gabe Albornoz, the county’s recreation department director, filed Tuesday with the state’s Board of Elections to pursue an at-large seat on the County Council.

Albornoz, 41, a former chair of the county’s Democratic Central Committee, also created a public financing committee in August to raise money under the county’s new public matching funds system. Candidates can only accept small-dollar contributions (less than $150) from Montgomery County residents.

The filing formally indicates that Albornoz, a Kensington Democrat, will enter the crowded field of candidates pursuing one of the four at-large seats, three of which will be open because Council members George Leventhal, Marc Elrich and Nancy Floreen must step down due to term limits. Elrich and Leventhal are running for county executive in 2018.

More than 20 Democratic candidates have announced or plan to enter the at-large race. Thirteen Democrats have filed to run for one of the four seats, including the only remaining incumbent, Hans Riemer. No Republicans have filed or formally announced their candidacy for the at-large seats.

Other new Democratic candidates who have filed to run in the at-large race over the past two months include Ashwani Jain, a Silver Spring political organizer; Will Jawando, a Silver Spring Democrat who worked in the Obama administration; Mohammed Siddique, a Montgomery Village Democrat; and Bethesda resident Loretta Jean Garcia, a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

Image via Montgomery County website


Two unions backing Manno in District 6 Congressional race

State Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring) announced this month he received the backing of the Baltimore-Washington Building Trades Union, which goes by the name CHOICE, or Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment. The building trades union represents 28 smaller local unions in the Washington, D.C. region.

Manno said CHOICE represents about 50,000 workers in Maryland, although he wasn’t sure how many lived in District 6, which stretches north from Potomac and includes the Western Maryland panhandle and parts of Frederick County.

He said in an interview with Bethesda Beat that the union first backed his state Senate campaign in 2010 and was critical to helping him win the election.

This week, Manno also announced he received the endorsement of the International Brother of Electrical Workers Local 26, which represents electrical workers in D.C, Virginia and Maryland.

Manno is running for the District 6 seat against Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda), Del. Aruna Miller (D-Darnestown) and Democratic businessman David Trone, of Potomac. Frederick County Democrat Andrew Duck has also filed to run for the seat, as well as Republican Matt Mossburg, of Frederick.

Roger Manno image via Facebook


Fosselman announces O’Malley endorsement

District 1 Democratic County Council candidate Pete Fosselman, the former Kensington Mayor, announced this week that former Gov. Martin O’Malley has endorsed him for the Bethesda-based council seat. Fosselman previously worked in the O’Malley administration as deputy secretary of state, a position he held from 2011 to 2015, which includes a stint under Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

O’Malley is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser for Fosselman in Rockville Saturday.

“Pete Fosselman is a results-driven leader who has the know-how and experience to accomplish big things for the people of Montgomery County,” O’Malley said in a statement. “Pete will be an outstanding member of the Montgomery County Council.”

Fosselman was Kensington’s mayor from 2006 to 2016. He’s running for the District 1 seat being vacated by Democrat Roger Berliner, who must step down due to term limits in 2018. Berliner is running for county executive.

Fosselman is running for the District 1 council seat against attorney Reggie Oldak, community activist Bill Cook, former Planning Board member Meredith Wellington and Andrew Friedson, a former adviser to Comptroller Peter Franchot. Oldak, Cook and Friedson are all Democrats from Bethesda. Wellington is a Chevy Chase Democrat.

Republican Richard Bananch, of Chevy Chase, has also filed to run for the council seat.

Fosselman image via Montgomery County website

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