Politics Roundup: Two Candidates in Montgomery County Slide through Filing Deadline Unopposed

Politics Roundup: Two Candidates in Montgomery County Slide through Filing Deadline Unopposed

Plus: Firefighters endorse Elrich; Raskin draws challenger with memorable name; and new candidates file to run for Congress in District 6

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Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy and District 17 state Sen. Cheryl Kagan emerged from Tuesday' night's filing deadline without opposition

Two Montgomery County officeholders get an easy ride through election day

More than 60 public offices—ranging from U.S. senator to school board—will be on the ballot in Montgomery County this year. A flurry of activity just prior to Tuesday’s 9 p.m. filing deadline created races for several previously uncontested seats.

But two Montgomery County officeholders—State’s Attorney John McCarthy and District 17 state Sen. Cheryl Kagan—emerged with no opposition in the June 26 primary or the November general election, guaranteeing both another four-year term in office.

McCarthy, a Gaithersburg resident, was first elected as state’s attorney in 2006 after serving as chief deputy to his predecessor, Doug Gansler. This will be his fourth term in office; he was also re-elected without primary or general election opposition in 2010, and easily defeated a Republican challenger in 2014.

For a time, it appeared that McCarthy would have primary opposition this year. But Rockville attorney Thomas DeGonia, after initially announcing his candidacy, later decided against challenging McCarthy.

Kagan’s free pass this year follows two often bitter primary contests for the Senate seat—which encompasses most of Rockville and Gaithersburg—in 2010 and 2014. The first time, Kagan narrowly lost a challenge to then-Sen. Jennie Forehand. When Forehand retired in 2014, Kagan defeated then-Del. Luiz Simmons to win.

Kagan, a Rockville resident, also served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1994 to 2002.

Two other candidates for state Senate from Montgomery County emerged from the filing deadline with only minor party challenges.

Del. Ben Kramer of Derwood, seeking to succeed Sen. Roger Manno in District 19, has no primary challenger or Republican opponent this fall. But Rockville resident David Jeang filed to appear on the Green Party line in November. The district extends from Silver Spring to the outskirts of Rockville and Gaithersburg; Manno is leaving to run for the District 6 congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. John Delaney.

In Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based District 20, Sen. Will Smith also has no intraparty or Republican opposition in seeking his first full term. But an independent candidate, Vardly St. Preux of Silver Spring, filed Tuesday to appear on the November ballot. Smith was appointed to the Senate seat in December 2016 to succeed now-U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Local Republicans, who have not won a contest for the Maryland General Assembly in Montgomery County since 2002, scrambled Tuesday to file candidates in several previously uncontested races.

The 11th-hour effort produced a full GOP slate of a Senate candidate and three House of Delegate contenders in District 14, which covers the eastern portion of Montgomery County. The Republicans had earlier fielded a full slate in neighboring District 15, which extends from Potomac north to the Frederick County line.

Other Republicans emerged Tuesday to partially fill the party’s slates in Bethesda-based District 16 as well as in District 18, which runs from Bethesda through Chevy Chase to Silver Spring. Both those jurisdictions have overwhelming Democratic registration margins.

The only one of the county’s eight legislative districts in which no Republicans filed is District 20, where Democrats have a better than 7-1 registration advantage.

Louis Peck

 

Elrich receives endorsement of firefighters’ union in county executive race

Marc Elrich nabbed another union endorsement for his county executive campaign. The current at-large council member announced Wednesday he has received the backing of the 1,500-member Local 1664 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. The union represents the career firefighters that make up the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.

Union President Jeff Buddle said in a statement the union will work to help elect Elrich, who is facing five other Democrats in the June 26 primary.

Elrich has also received endorsements from SEIU Local 500, the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO, and 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

Meanwhile, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO—which represents a majority of the county government workforce—Wednesday announced early endorsements in several local races.

The endorsements include Del. Jeff Waldstreicher of Kensington, who is in a competitive race for the District 18 seat now held by Sen. Richard Madaleno, who is running for governor; Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member Marlin Jenkins of Silver Spring, part of a crowded field of candidates taking aim at an open District 19 House of Delegates seat; and Lorig Charkoudian of Takoma Park, who is among several non-incumbents vying for the opening in District 20 created by the retirement of Del. Sheila Hixson.

MCGEO also endorsed seven recently appointed Circuit Court judges who are up for election this year. The seven—James Bonifant, Jill Cummins, Jeannie Cho, Debra Dwyer, Kevin Hessler, David Lease, and Margaret Schweitzer—face opposition from Rockville attorney Marylin Pierre in the June 26 primary.

Andrew Metcalf and Louis Peck

 

Raskin draws a last-minute primary challenger with a memorable name

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park, seeking a second term in Montgomery County-based District 8, on Tuesday drew a Democratic primary challenge from a candidate with a memorable name—or pseudonym, to be precise.

With just hours to go until the deadline to qualify for the June 26 primary, a Silver Spring resident named “Summer Spring” appeared on the Maryland Board of Elections Web site as having filed to run against Raskin.

Summer Spring is a pseudonym for Sumati Mathur, who heads a Washington-based consulting firm, Xykon, that specializes in technical consulting and services. The firm’s own website identifies her as “Sumati Mathur (aka Summer Spring).”

A candidate in Maryland can appear on the ballot using a pseudonym “if the candidate files an affidavit under penalties of perjury attesting that the candidate is generally known by that other name in press accounts or, if press accounts do not exist, the candidate’s every day encounters,” according to Title 5-301/Section C of state election law.

According to state Board of Election officials, Mathur satisfied this requirement Tuesday by filing an affidavit with two witnesses attesting that she is known in “every day encounters” as Summer Spring. 

This appears to be the first run for public office by Mathur, who did not respond to a message seeking comment. She joins another political newcomer, Utam Paul of Derwood, in the primary against Raskin—who is an overwhelming favorite in both the primary and the general election in the Democrat-dominated district. 

Raskin had no Republican opposition until just prior to Tuesday’s deadline, when three candidates—Bridgette Cooper of Silver Spring, John Walsh of Silver Spring, and Victor Williams of Bethesda—all filed to compete in a primary for the GOP nomination.

Williams’ filing lists his website as trumpcongress.com. While the website itself remains under construction, an online description of it declares: “?Lawyers and Law Professors for Trump/Pence independently advances Mr. Trump's ‘America First’ movement and policy agenda. With zealous advocacy as citizen-lawyers, we defend Trump from the attacks of the double-dealing media and the petrified political elites.”

Raskin has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, including voting at least twice in recent months in favor of procedural motions to move ahead on efforts to impeach the president.

Louis Peck

 

Contest for Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Delaney gets more crowded

The contest to succeed U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Potomac got more crowded Tuesday, as Chris Graves—who operates a Gaithersburg-based solar electric firm—joined the race for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District just prior to the filing deadline.

With the entry of Graves, there are now eight Democrats competing in the June 26 primary in the district, which extends from Potomac and Gaithersburg nearly 200 miles to the western edge of Maryland’s panhandle. About half of the district’s voters reside in Montgomery County.

Graves, a Montgomery Village resident, heads a firm that designs and installs solar electric systems for residences and commercial establishments, in addition to developing solar plants for local communities. He holds a doctorate in international economics from University of Maryland.

Other Democrats already in the race include Andrew Duck of Frederick, director of operations for a green research company and the party’s District 6 nominee in 2006 and 2010; George English of Silver Spring, a retired economist who has run previously for the nomination for U.S. Senate and in neighboring District 8; Nadia Hashimi of Potomac, a pediatrician and author; Christopher Hearsey of Gaithersburg, an aerospace executive; state Sen. Roger Manno of Silver Spring; state Del. Aruna Miller of Darnestown; and David Trone of Potomac, co-owner of the Total Wine & More retail chain. Trone was a candidate in District 8 in 2016, finishing second in the primary to now-U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin.

On the Republican side, Delaney’s 2016 general election opponent, national security consultant Amie Hoeber of Potomac, is running again for the party’s nomination. She has primary opposition from Kurt Elsasser of Hagerstown, a sales representative; Lisa Lloyd of Potomac, a nurse practitioner; and Bradley Stephen Rohrs of Germantown, a real estate professional.

Delaney, a former corporate executive first elected in 2012, is relinquishing the congressional seat to pursue a long shot bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Louis Peck

 

Duncan backs Trone in District 6 congressional race

Congressional candidate David Trone and former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan

Total Wine & More co-owner David Trone announced Tuesday that former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is backing his bid for the District 6 congressional seat.

Duncan previously backed U.S. Rep. John Delaney in his upstart bid against established state Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola in 2012. Delaney is leaving his seat to run for the presidency.

“David Trone started with nothing and built a business that has created over 6,000 jobs, 600 of which are right here in Montgomery County,” Duncan said in a statement. “And for over two decades he has shown real leadership in this community with his support for local charities and progressive causes.”

Trone is facing seven other candidates in the June 26 Democratic primary—including state Del. Aruna Miller (D-Darnestown) and state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring).

Duncan served as county executive from 1994 to 2006. He unsuccessfully ran for another term in 2014, but lost in the primary to Ike Leggett, who is serving his third term.

Andrew Metcalf

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