2021 | Politics

Balcombe, Glass are next candidates to be certified for public financing

Next official filing deadline is Sept. 7

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Two more County Council candidates have been certified to use the county’s public election fund, after more than a dozen Democratic candidates have filed their intent to use the county’s public financing system for elections.

Marilyn Balcombe, president and CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, was certified last month and received $49,555 from the election fund so far, according to state campaign finance reports. Balcombe is running for District 2, which includes Barnesville, Boyds, Comus, Damascus and Hyattstown, Germantown and Clarksburg.

Evan Glass, an at-large council member running for re-election, was also certified and received $88,058, reports show. Balcombe and Glass join Brandy Brooks, who was the first to be certified and received $113,765. Brooks is running for an at-large council seat. 

The county’s most recent public election fund report, dated July 31, does not show Balcombe or Glass were certified — but Maurice Valentine, the county’s public election fund liaison, confirmed they were certified in an interview last month.

Former County Council Member Phil Andrews, who helped spearhead the public financing system, previously told Bethesda Beat that the system is meant to offer more opportunities for candidates to run grassroots campaigns, based less on special interests and more on smaller donations.

The donation cap for individual donors in the system is $250. Candidates must meet the following benchmarks to be certified and receive matching funds: 

  • $10,000 from 125 donors as a district County Council candidate
  • $20,000 from 250 donors as an at-large County Council candidate
  • $40,000 from 500 donors as an executive candidate

In the county executive race, incumbent Marc Elrich, County Council Member Hans Riemer and Devin Battley, a former motorcycle shop owner in Gaithersburg, have all filed their intent to use public financing in a Democratic primary.

Elrich and Riemer have announced they’re running. Battley previously told Bethesda Beat he would have a final decision by mid-September. 

Businessman David Blair also is running in the Democratic primary for county executive.

Six candidates for at-large council seats — who represent the entire county — have filed intent to use public financing. That includes Glass, Brooks, incumbent Gabe Albornoz and challengers Kristin Mink and Laurie-Anne Sayles.

Scott Goldberg, a Silver Spring resident who sits on the county’s Democratic Central Committee, also filed his intent to use the system for an at-large seat. In a previous interview, he said he would decide whether he’s running by late September.

Six other candidates have filed their intent to use the public election fund in district council seat races. That includes Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Maricé Morales and Omar Lazo, who all have officially filed for County Council District 4, which includes Laytonsville, Olney, Glenmont and Wheaton.

It also includes Balcombe, the District 2 candidate, and Fatmata Barrie, who is running for County Council District 5, which includes Silver Spring, Takoma Park, White Oak, Fairland and Burtonsville.

Brian Anleu, the chief of staff to the Montgomery County Planning Board, has also filed his intent. He said in a previous interview that he’s considering a run for a council district seat but is waiting on what Hucker decides to do and how districts might be redrawn.

Anleu added that if Hucker runs for county executive, he would likely consider District 5, Hucker’s current seat, or somewhere else in the eastern part of the county.

Last year, voters approved a measure expanding the County Council from nine seats to 11. There will be seven seats by district, up from five. There are also four at-large seats.

A redistricting committee is working on new district boundaries to reflect the two new council districts and the latest census population figures.

The filing deadline is Feb. 22. The 2022 primary election will be on June 28 and the general election on Nov. 8.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com