Politics Roundup: Blair Lands Washington Post Endorsement; Frick Nets Backing of Realtors
Plus: Blair, Trone continue spending on network ads; Hashimi begins running ads on cable
Blair lands Washington Post endorsement
Wealthy Potomac businessman and political newcomer David Blair, a Democrat, has secured the endorsement of The Washington Post for Montgomery County executive Saturday. The paper’s editorial board credited Blair with having the “business acumen, energy and passion for innovation” needed to handle a sluggish local economy.
Prior to running for office, Blair was the CEO of the successful prescription-drug benefits company Catalyst Health Solutions, which was sold to SXC Health Solutions for $4.4 billion in 2012. The Post noted Blair has “changed minds” through “his outsize campaign spending and squadrons of paid door-knockers,” and the editorial board believes his “combination of fresh thinking and business savvy … stand the best chance of injecting a dose of vitality into a county that badly needs it.”
Political analysts, such as Josh Kurtz at Maryland Matters and Adam Pagnucco at Seventh State, have already weighed in and believe the endorsement gives Blair a boost and makes him a compelling pro-business candidate to take on the progressive base of County Council member Marc Elrich, another Democrat running for the post. The endorsement is a blow to other Democratic candidates such as former Planning Department Deputy Director Rose Krasnow, council member Roger Berliner and state Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda), who were working to position themselves as experienced candidates who support the local business community, according to the analysts.
In 2014, the paper backed Berliner, Elrich and council member George Leventhal, who is also running for county executive, in their races for the County Council. At the time, all three were incumbents.
Frick nets backing of realtors
State Del. Bill Frick received the endorsement Friday of the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. The group that represents about 10,000 real estate professionals in the Washington, D.C., region also endorsed Democrats Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Hoan Dang and Evan Glass for County Council at-large seats. And it backed incumbents Craig Rice, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker for their district council seats.
Frick’s endorsement by the Realtors’ group came after the House majority leader told members of the association at a January forum that the council’s decision to raise the real estate recordation tax in 2016 was a mistake. He said if elected he would work to reverse the tax hike, which the council approved as a way to provide more school construction funding. The tax is applied on home sales transactions in the county.
When the council was debating whether to raise the recordation tax, many real estate agents testified that they believed the council was putting them in a bad position—by making them choose between a cost that would impact home sales and supporting construction of local schools.
Blair and Trone continue ad buys on regional networks
Congressional District 6 candidate David Trone and Montgomery County executive candidate David Blair continue to be the only two candidates running in local races who are buying ads on the regional stations of TV networks, such as NBC4 and WUSA9, according to Federal Communications Commission records.
Blair’s campaign has spent about $50,000 to run ads on NBC4, ABC7 and WUSA9 from April 30 through Monday. Trone’s campaign has spent about $140,000 on NBC4 and WUSA9 ads for that same period. Trone also purchased about $44,000 in ads to run on Fox5 from March 26 through May 1, according to FCC records.
In April, Trone announced he would no longer buy ads on ABC7—the local affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair was criticized for forcing its affiliate stations to run a controversial promotion campaign during which their news anchors read from a corporate script about “fake news.” Trone’s spokesman told The Washington Post the Total Wine & More co-owner decided to stop running ads for his campaign on the station after Trone learned Sinclair stations “were using the airwaves to advance” the agenda of President Donald Trump.
Both Trone and Blair are successful businessmen and multimillionaires who live in Potomac.
Hashimi begins running ads on cable
District 6 Democratic Congressional candidate Nadia Hashimi, a pediatrician and author who is heavily self-funding her campaign, announced last week she began running ads on cable TV channels.
In her first ad, she emphasized her background as a doctor and called out “mansplaining” on health care in Congress.
“I’ll bring my expertise on health care to a place that has zero female doctors,” Hashimi said. She added that she’ll work to protect Planned Parenthood, combat opioid addiction and ban assault weapons and fight for affordable healthcare.
Hashimi is a political newcomer who is competing against other Democrats for the nomination, including David Trone, state Del. Aruna Miller, state Sen. Roger Manno and Frederick veteran Andrew Duck.
Ruppersberger endorses Trone
Longtime 2nd District Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger announced Monday he is endorsing Total Wine & More co-owner David Trone of Potomac in Maryland’s 6th District Congressional race.
Trone is among several Democratic candidates trying to win the seat of Rep. John Delaney, who is running for president.
Ruppersberger said in a statement he appreciates Delaney’s business acumen and believes “David Trone is the best candidate to carry the torch.”
Ruppersberger, a former Baltimore County executive, has represented the district that includes Baltimore County’s Chesapeake Bay coastline since 2003. Trone also has received the endorsement of Rep. Anthony Brown, who represents Maryland’s 4th District.
Image right: David Trone, provided photo