2018 Endorsements: Candidates for U.S. Congress and Maryland General Assembly

2018 Endorsements: Candidates for U.S. Congress and Maryland General Assembly

Contested Democratic primaries for House of Delegates seats draw lots of endorsements

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Montgomery County’s 24-person House of Delegates contingent is spread over eight legislative districts. In 2018, there are contested Democratic primaries for the three available Democratic delegate nominations in each of those districts—and no shortage of efforts by labor, business and issue advocacy groups to sway voters in advance of the June 26 primary.

What follows is a compilation, on a district-by-district basis, of Democratic primary endorsements for the county’s seats in the Maryland General Assembly as well as the U.S. Congress. Included are the choices of organizations that are well-known locally and have established a presence in recent elections—thanks to membership, money or both.

A breakdown of endorsements in this year’s contested county executive, County Council and Board of Education elections was published Tuesday. The overall list of endorsements in federal, state and county elections also can be found in the 2018 Bethesda Beat voters’ guide, which will be continuously updated to reflect any additional endorsements between now and June 26.

In addition to the many House of Delegates’ contests this year, there are state Senate primaries in two jurisdictions: Potomac-area District 15, where incumbent Brian Feldman is favored to win renomination, and Silver Spring-to-Gaithersburg District 19, where there is a competitive race to succeed three-term Sen. Richard Madaleno. Included as well in the compilation that follows are endorsements in those two contested Senate races.

While there are no local contested Republican primary elections at the state legislative level in Montgomery County this year—the current General Assembly delegation of eight state senators and 24 House of Delegates members is all-Democratic—there is a GOP primary for the open District 6 congressional seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. John Delaney. But most of the action on Primary Day will be on the Democratic side, where eight contenders are vying for the party’s nomination in a district that extends from Potomac and Gaithersburg more than 200 miles to the western edge of the Maryland Panhandle.

A large number of organizations have weighed in with endorsements in the Democratic battle to succeed Delaney, who is leaving to wage a longshot bid for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination. In contrast, few organizations have made an effort to endorse for the other two congressional seats that take in portions of Montgomery County. Behind the apparent lack of interest by many groups: Despite primaries on both the Democratic and Republican sides in those contests, District 8 U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin and District 3 U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, both Democrats, are expected to have no trouble winning re-election this year.     

Some background concerning the endorsements:

—The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) represents teachers in the county school system. Its parent organizations, the National Education Association and the Maryland State Education Association, have endorsed in the District 6 congressional primary. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 represents the Montgomery County school system’s support staff. The membership of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1994 MCGEO includes a majority of county government workers, while SEIU 32BJ represents many property service workers at office and apartment buildings in the county.

While the Maryland Sierra Club endorses candidates at both the county and state level, another leading state environmental group, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, limits its Montgomery County endorsements to state legislative races.

—CASA in Action is the political arm of CASA de Maryland, which bills itself as the largest Latino and immigrant organization in Maryland.

—NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, while endorsing in both county and state legislative contests, also has given “100% Pro-Choice” ratings to other candidates in a given race, as it did four years ago. While this may blur the distinction with those who have received an outright endorsement, the group said it has opted to award 100 percent ratings to those supportive of its positions “based on questionnaire responses and public positions on reproductive freedom in Maryland.”

—EMILY’s List is a political action committee that backs Democratic female candidates who are supporters of abortion rights. The group “bundles” donations from contributors around the country and directs the money to candidates it favors in order to maximize the financial resources available to those candidates.    

Congress/District 6 (Parts of Montgomery and Frederick counties/Maryland Panhandle)

Candidates (Democratic primary): 2006/2010 District 6 nominee Andrew Duck, retired economist/past congressional and U.S. Senate aspirant George English, solar energy business owner Chris Graves, pediatrician/writer Nadia Hashimi, aerospace executive Christopher Hearsey, District 19 state Sen. Roger Manno, District 15 Del. Aruna Miller and business owner/alcohol beverage retailer David Trone

Candidates (Republican primary): Sales representative Kurt Elsasser, 2016 District 6 nominee Amie Hoeber, nurse practitioner Lisa Lloyd and  real estate broker Bradley Rohrs

Endorsements:

National Education Association (NEA)/Maryland State Education Association (MSEA): Miller

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500: Manno

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ: Manno

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 MCGEO: Manno

AFL-CIO (Maryland State/District of Columbia): Manno

 

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 35: Manno

Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 1664): Manno

Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (MCVFRA): Manno

 

Maryland Sierra Club: Miller

 

CASA in Action: Miller

EMILY’s List: Miller

 

Of note: In addition to organizational endorsements, the three leading contenders in the race for the District 6 Democratic nomination—Manno, Miller and Trone—have been actively seeking big-name individual endorsements. Manno has been endorsed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a former colleague of his in the state Senate. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch are behind Miller, while Trone has the endorsements of two members of the current Maryland congressional delegation, Reps. Anthony Brown and Dutch Ruppersberger, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker—a leading Democratic contender for governor. The Baker and Brown endorsements have stirred controversy, since Trone, a multimillionaire who is co-owner of the nationwide retail chain Total Wine & More, has contributed heavily to past campaigns of both of those officeholders.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination is expected to face Hoeber, a national security consultant and former official in the administration of President Ronald Reagan; Hoeber ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Democratic Rep. Delaney two years ago. 

General Assembly/District 14 (Burtonsville/Clarksburg/Olney/Silver Spring)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Craig Zucker has no primary opponent.

House (three seats): Incumbent Dels. Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Pamela Queen; and federal Office of Naval Research program officer Paul Ransom

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA): Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

MCGEO: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

SEIU Local 500: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

SEIU 32BJ: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

AFL-CIO: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

 

Career Fire Fighters: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

 

Maryland League of Conservation Voters (LCV): Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

Sierra Club: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

 

CASA: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen

National Organization for Women (NOW)/Montgomery County Chapter: Kaiser, Luedtke, Queen 

 

Of note: District 14 is the only one of the county’s eight legislative districts where all incumbents are running for re-election this year. Queen, appointed to fill a vacancy in early 2016, is seeking her first full term in office. The vacancy to which she was named was created when then-state Sen. Karen Montgomery resigned for health reasons, and Zucker, then a member of the House of Delegates, was appointed by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee to succeed Montgomery.

General Assembly/District 15 (Bethesda/Potomac/Poolesville)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Brian Feldman, businessman Hongjun Xin

House (three seats): Montgomery County Office of Human Rights staff member Anis Ahmed, incumbent Dels. Kathleen Dumais and David Fraser-Hidalgo, former Obama White House aide Amy Frieder, political consultant Hamza Khan, congressional office director Kevin Mack, insurance agent Tony Puca, Montgomery County Office of the Executive management official Lily Qi and former journalist Andy Van Wye  

Endorsements (Senate/House of Delegates):

MCEA: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Mack

MCGEO: Feldman, Fraser-Hidalgo, Khan

SEIU Local 500: Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Mack

AFL-CIO: Feldman, Fraser-Hidalgo, Mack

 

Career Fire Fighters: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Mack

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo

 

LCV: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo

Sierra Club: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Qi

 

CASA: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Khan

NARAL: Feldman, Fraser-Hidalgo (Puca and Qi also received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)

NOW: Feldman, Dumais, Fraser-Hidalgo, Qi         

 

Of note: Feldman, Dumais and Fraser-Hidalgo are seeking re-election jointly as the “District 15 Team Slate,” but have opted not to tap any of the non-incumbent delegate candidates to run with them to fill the open seat now held by Del. Aruna Miller. She is leaving to seek the Democratic nomination for the open District 6 congressional seat.

The congressional contest has become entangled with the District 15 endorsement process. Mack, for the past five years the district director for outgoing U.S. Rep. Delaney, has picked up the endorsement of two of the county’s three major unions: MCEA and SEIU Local 500. But MCGEO has refrained from backing him, opting to endorse for only two of the three available delegate nominations. Behind MCGEO’s move: Mack has been supportive of Miller’s congressional bid while MCGEO, which has had a bumpy relationship with Miller, is strongly behind state Sen. Roger Manno’s campaign to succeed Delaney.

MCGEO also declined to endorse Dumais, one of the two incumbent delegates seeking re-election, over her sponsorship of 2016 legislation seeking to end the county’s monopoly over distribution and sales of alcohol beverages—a move that MCGEO, which represents employees at the county Department of Liquor Control, strongly opposes.

General Assembly/District 16 (Bethesda/Chevy Chase/Potomac)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Susan Lee has no primary opposition.

House (three seats): Health care professional/2014 delegate candidate Jordan Cooper, writer/consultant Nuchhi Currier, attorney Joseph Hennessey, incumbent Dels. Ariana Kelly and Marc Korman, certified nursing assistant/freelance journalist Marc Lande, attorney/advocacy group official Sara Love and teacher Samir Paul

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

MCEA: Kelly, Korman, Paul

MCGEO: Kelly, Korman, Paul

SEIU Local 500: Kelly, Korman, Paul

SEIU 32BJ: Kelly

AFL-CIO: Kelly, Korman, Paul

 

Career Fire Fighters: Kelly, Korman

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Korman

 

LCV: Kelly, Korman, Love

Sierra Club: Kelly, Korman, Love

 

CASA: Kelly, Korman, Paul

NARAL: Kelly, Korman, Love (Currier, Hennessey, Lande and Paul also received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)

NOW: Kelly, Korman, Love                                            

 

Of note: As with the incumbents in neighboring District 15, Lee, Kelly and Korman are running for re-election as a slate. But they also have chosen not to select a non-incumbent to join them in a bid to fill the open seat of Del. Bill Frick—who is running for the Democratic nomination for county executive.

The current and past careers of two of the non-incumbent candidates, Love and Paul, appear to have given them a boost in terms of endorsements. Paul, who garnered the backing of the MCEA, is a member of that union as a teacher at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. Love—endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland—was formerly general counsel for that group’s parent organization, NARAL Pro-Choice America.

General Assembly/District 17 (Rockville/Gaithersburg)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Cheryl Kagan has no primary opposition.

House (three seats): Physician Esam Al-Shareffi, incumbent Del. Kumar Barve, Rockville City Council member Julie Palakovich Carr, incumbent Del. Jim Gilchrist, attorney/former Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee treasurer Julian Haffner and county Board of Education member Rebecca Smondrowski

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

MCEA: Barve, Palakovich Carr, Haffner

MCGEO: Barve, Gilchrist, Haffner

SEIU Local 500: Barve, Haffner, Smondrowski

AFL-CIO: Palakovich Carr, Haffner

 

Career Fire Fighters: Barve, Gilchrist, Palakovich Carr

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Barve, Gilchrist

 

LCV: Barve, Gilchrist, Palakovich Carr

Sierra Club: Barve, Gilchrist, Palakovich Carr

CASA: Barve, Gilchrist, Palakovich Carr

NARAL: Barve, Gilchrist (Palakovich Carr, Haffner and Smondrowski also received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)  

NOW: Barve, Gilchrist, Palakovich Carr

 

Of note: Last January, a week after Del. Andrew Platt’s surprise announcement that he would not seek a second term, Barve and Gilchrist moved swiftly to form a slate with Palakovich Carr—signaling that she was their choice for the district’s third delegate opening. But it’s been a rocky several months for Gilchrist, as two major local unions—MCEA and SEIU Local 500—have declined to endorse his bid for a fourth term. That’s a switch from four years ago, when Gilchrist—a low-key legislator who is the son of the late County Executive Charles Gilchrist—had the backing of both unions.    

General Assembly/District 18 (Chevy Chase/Kensington/Wheaton/Silver Spring)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Del. Jeff Waldstreicher, retired eye surgeon/former County Council aide Dana Beyer and business owner/former budget officer Michelle Carhart (incumbent Sen. Richard Madaleno is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination)

House (three seats): Incumbent Del. Al Carr, U.S. Department of Justice contractor Ron Franks, former University of Maryland terrorism researcher/project manager Mila Johns, communications manager Helga Luest, public health organization official Leslie Milano, consultant/former State Department official Joel Rubin, government relations strategist/Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Vice Chair Emily Shetty and former congressional aide Jared Solomon

Endorsements (Senate and House of Delegates):                                                       

MCEA: Waldstreicher, Carr, Rubin, Solomon

MCGEO: Waldstreicher, Carr, Shetty, Solomon

SEIU Local 500: Beyer, Johns, Milano, Shetty

Service Employees International Union 32BJ: Waldstreicher, Shetty, Solomon

AFL-CIO: Waldstreicher, Shetty 

 

Career Fire Fighters: Waldstreicher, Carr, Shetty, Solomon 

Fraternal Order of Police: Waldstreicher

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Carr   

 

LCV: Waldstreicher, Carr

Sierra Club: Waldstreicher, Carr, Shetty, Solomon

CASA: Beyer, Carr, Shetty, Solomon

EMILY’s List: Beyer

NARAL: Carr, Johns, Shetty (Beyer, Waldstreicher, Luest, Milano, Rubin and Solomon also received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)

NOW: Waldstreicher, Carr, Johns, Shetty

 

Maryland Association of Realtors: Waldstreicher

Of note: With just one incumbent delegate seeking re-election and a competitive race for state Senate, District 18 is the setting for this year’s most wide-open—and arguably most vituperative—legislative contest in Montgomery County. At various times, Waldstreicher has been publicly accused of trying to coax other candidates in or out of the Senate race to give himself an edge; he has denied or sidestepped the charges.

The MCEA and SEIU Local 500, which together represent most of the 23,350-member staff of the Montgomery County school system, generally track fairly closely in endorsing candidates for Senate and House of Delegates. But there is no agreement among them in their choices in District 18 this year. The endorsement process itself has stirred controversy: The MCEA reopened its process earlier this year, partly in response to complaints from District 18 candidates who believed they had not had a chance to be vetted adequately. Rubin was added to the MCEA’s list of endorsed candidates in May, two months after the union unveiled its initial choices in the district.

EMILY’s List weighed in for Beyer late Monday, with just two weeks left until Primary Day. The timing of the endorsement left little opportunity to leverage campaign contributions, a major objective of the group (EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast.”) But the move could provide a symbolic boost in rallying female voters as the pre-primary early voting period opens.

General Assembly/District 19 (Silver Spring/Rockville area)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Del. Ben Kramer has no primary opposition (two-term Sen. Roger Manno is seeking the District 6 Democratic congressional nomination).

House (three seats): Software developer Brian Crider, attorney/2014 delegate candidate Charlotte Crutchfield, incumbent Del. Bonnie Cullison, attorney/Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member Marlin Jenkins, incumbent Del. Marice Morales, attorney Vaughn Stewart, attorney Carl Ward and health care management coordinator Jade Wiles 

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

MCEA: Cullison, Jenkins, Stewart

MCGEO: Cullison, Morales, Jenkins

SEIU Local 500: Cullison, Morales, Jenkins

SEIU 32BJ: Cullison, Morales, Jenkins

AFL-CIO: Cullison, Morales, Jenkins

Career Fire Fighters: Stewart

 

LCV: Cullison, Morales

Sierra Club: Cullison, Morales, Stewart

CASA: Cullison, Morales, Jenkins

NARAL: Cullison, Morales (Crider, Crutchfield, Jenkins and Stewart also received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)

NOW: Cullison, Morales, Crutchfield      

 

Of note: Morales was among only two incumbent delegates in the county seeking re-election this year not to receive the endorsement of the MCEA. According to sources, the MCEA’s move followed a contentious disagreement with Morales about the county school system’s ESOL (English For Speakers of Other Languages) program during an endorsement interview. Morales, running for a second term, has garnered the backing of the county’s other two major public employee unions: SEIU Local 500 and MCGEO. She is running on an incumbent slate with Kramer and Cullison; the three have opted not to add one of the six non-incumbent candidates to their slate. One of the non-incumbents, Jenkins, has won the backing of all the labor groups that have weighed in on the race; he is a labor attorney for the American Federation of Government Employees.

General Assembly/District 20 (Silver Spring/Takoma Park)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Will Smith has no primary opposition.

House (three seats): Attorney Fatmata Barrie, community mediation organization official Lorig Charkoudian, public charter school official Malik Lendzondzo, incumbent Del. David Moon, Howard University business professor/2014 delegate candidate Darian Unger, incumbent Del. Jheanelle Wilkins and attorney George Zokle

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

MCEA: Moon, Wilkins, Unger

MCGEO: Moon, Wilkins, Charkoudian

SEIU Local 500: Moon, Wilkins, Unger

SEIU 32BJ: Moon, Wilkins, Unger

AFL-CIO: Moon, Wilkins

 

Career Fire Fighters: Moon, Wilkins, Charkoudian

Volunteer Fire and Rescue: Unger                                                      ,

                                                                                         

LCV: Moon, Wilkins, Charkoudian

Sierra Club: Moon, Wilkins

                                                                           

CASA: Moon, Wilkins, Charkoudian

NARAL: Moon, Wilkins (Barrie, Charkoudian and Unger received “100% Pro-Choice” ratings)

NOW: Moon, Wilkins, Charkoudian         

Of note: After first being elected to a delegate seat in 2014, Smith two years later was named to succeed now-U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin in the state Senate—winning appointment to the post by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee in a head-to-head battle with Moon. Wilkins, a member of the Democratic central committee, was then appointed to Smith’s vacant delegate seat. Charkoudian and Unger, who both sought that vacancy, are now taking aim in the primary at the opening created by the retirement of long-time Del. Sheila Hixson.

Unger—who, as a candidate in the 2014 primary, was shut out of various union endorsements—this time has received the backing of both the MCEA and SEIU Local 500, with MCGEO lining up behind Charkoudian. In a move intended to provide a late boost to Charkoudian, the three incumbents announced barely three weeks prior to the June 26 primary that they were adding her to an informal slate for purposes of joint mailing and canvassing activities. The incumbents also were hoping their move might attract additional endorsements for Charkoudian. But the  Maryland Sierra Club—which previously endorsed Smith, Moon and Wilkins—has decided not to weigh in on the open seat being eyed by Charkoudian and Unger; the Sierra Club endorsed Unger in the 2014 primary. Unger, a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician, has the backing of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association this year.   

General Assembly/District 39 (Clarksburg/Germantown/Montgomery Village)

Candidates (Democratic primary):

Senate: Incumbent Sen. Nancy King has no primary opposition.

House (three seats): Union organizer Gabriel Acevero, marketing/communications consultant Bobby Bartlett, attorney Andy Hoverman, communications manager Lesley Lopez, incumbent Dels. Kirill Reznik and Shane Robinson and real estate consultant Clint Sobratti

Endorsements (House of Delegates):

MCEA: Reznik, Robinson, Acevero

MCGEO: Robinson, Acevero, Bartlett

SEIU Local 500: Reznik, Robinson, Acevero

SEIU 32BJ: Acevero

?

Career Fire Fighters: Robinson, Reznik, Lopez

AFL-CIO: Bartlett, Acevero

?

LCV: Reznik, Robinson, Lopez

Sierra Club: Reznik, Robinson, Lopez

CASA: Reznik, Robinson, Acevero

NARAL: Reznik, Lopez (Acevero also received a “100% Pro-Choice” rating)

NOW: Reznik, Acevero, Lopez

Of note: The impending departure of veteran Del. Charles Barkley, who is running for County Council at-large, has sparked an acrimonious intraparty battle. On one side are King, chair of the Montgomery County Senate delegation, and Robinson, who chairs the county’s House of Delegates contingent. In mid-2017, they formed a District 39 slate of candidates that included Lopez, who has handled communications for several trade associations and advocacy groups. In response, County Executive Ike Leggett lined up behind Acevero, while accusing King and Robinson of “smoke-filled room” tactics.

MCGEO President Gino Renne is also behind Acevero, who works for Renne’s union as a field organizer. Meanwhile, MCGEO, while endorsing King and Robinson, pointedly declined to back Reznik, the other District 39 incumbent seeking re-election. Reznik was among a handful of legislators who backed 2016 legislation to move toward privatization of the county’s public liquor sales and distribution system—a move strongly opposed by MCGEO, whose membership includes employees at the county Department of Liquor Control.

Notwithstanding their roles as chairs of the county’s Senate and House delegations, King and Robinson were among two of just four incumbent Montgomery County legislators seeking re-election who failed to receive the endorsement of the local chapter of NOW. According to sources, it did not indicate a disapproval of either legislator: Rather, neither King nor Robinson responded to the group’s questionnaire, without which NOW will not consider awarding an endorsement.

                 

 

                          

 

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