The race for County Council District 7, a new district upcounty, has doubled from two Democrats to four in recent weeks, after one longtime resident filed this month and another announced that she plans to run.
The candidates so far are:
- Dawn Luedtke, an assistant attorney general for the state
- Andrew Einsmann, a real estate agent
- Jacqueline Manger, a senior official at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Businesss
- Paul Schwartz, an advocate and legislative analyst for National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) in Maryland, and former senior federal government official
Schwartz filed in July, making him the first in the race for a district that had not yet been formed.
The current County Council map places all four candidates in what has been known as District 4, currently held by Council Member Nancy Navarro, a Democrat who is term-limited. She is running for lieutenant governor with former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
The old District 4 stretches from Wheaton and Glenmont and stretches north through Olney, Brookeville and Laytonsville. It also stretches from part of Washington Grove, east to Sandy Spring and Ashton.
After a redistricting commission was tasked with drawing a new map with seven districts instead of five — a change that voters approved in a referendum — the County Council approved a new map in December.
When the next council takes office, there will be 11 seats instead of 9. The number of district seats will increase from 5 to 7 district seats. The council will continue to have four at-large seats representing the entire county.
County Council District 7, the new district, sits in the northeastern part of Montgomery County. It runs from Derwood, east to Olney and Sandy Spring, and stretches north through Redland and Montgomery Village to Damascus.
Schwartz, 69, lives in Brookeville and has worked in numerous advocacy and management positions involving the federal and state governments, ranging from national security to disaster recovery and retirement tax legislation. He also is a former columnist for the Montgomery County Sentinel, covering local and national politics.
He said in an interview that various parts of the district have very different needs. They range from more rural to suburban to even urban areas, he said.
There is a need for more affordable housing throughout the county, including his district, Schwartz said. That way, middle-class workers such as teachers, police officers and firefighters can work closer to where they live, he added.
Schwartz believes his experience at the federal, state and local levels of government means he has the “broad experience” required for the seat. He wants to be hands-on in his approach to local government.
“My management style is based on a Chinese proverb … ‘Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand,’ and that’s the approach I’m taking,” Schwartz said.
Luedtke, 48, of Ashton, filed in October. Her work as an assistant attorney general primarily focuses on three areas: Maryland Center for School Safety, the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center and the Active Assailant Interdisciplinary Work Group.
She also focuses on other issues, such as hate crimes, and provides legal support for the state’s Department of Emergency Management.
Luedtke, whose husband, Eric Luedtke, is the majority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, said she’s interested in constituent issues like sidewalk connectivity, speeding and traffic congestion.
Bethesda Beat profiled her in late October, not long after she filed for the seat.
Einsmann, 44, lives in Derwood, and has been a real estate agent for over a decade. Before that, he worked in the biotech industry.
Einsmann said in an interview that he was waiting to see the final County Council district map before deciding to run.
He identified better transportation — for road improvement projects and local bus networks — along with economic development and assisting small businesses throughout the district as important issues in the race.
For instance, regulations and certifications can make it difficult for some small businesses to either start up or stay in business, Einsmann said. He is proposing “small business navigators” from the county that help business owners start up or expand.
Einsmann said the new council district means Derwood will have a unified voice on the County Council for the first time in at least two decades.
“It’s a great opportunity to get into politics where I have a situation where I don’t have an incumbent … and it’s the first time in 20 years where the Derwood area has one voice,” Einsmann said.
Derwood area residents voiced concern about that issue before the County Council voted on its final map in December. The originally proposed map split the area up into multiple districts, but the final map includes them all in District 7.
Manger and Schwartz agreed that the lack of an incumbent was one reason to enter the race.
Manger, 57, of Olney, is currently the managing director of the Ed Snider Center within the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
Manger said in an interview that in that role, she teaches entrepreneurship to students and manages other programs in the school that are funded externally.
She identified herself as more fiscally conservative than many of her Democratic friends. But given her background in business and accounting, she said, she’s interested in investing money where its most needed, including for the county’s most vulnerable residents.
Manger said she considered running for an at-large seat. But once the final lines were drawn, she was excited to talk to residents within her district about schools, public safety and programs such as the arts and theater.
All of those are quality of life issues, she said. And it’s important that everyone feels safe in their daily lives, she added. For instance, she agreed with Luedtke that sidewalk connections could be better in some parts of the district.
“[People have] found out ways to reach me, [and] they’re so excited to have someone local. … There seems to be a confidence that I will get people from other parts of the county to pay attention to District 7,” said Manger, whose husband, Tom Manger, is chief of the U.S. Capitol Police and a former Montgomery County police chief.
The filing deadline for next year’s elections is now March 22. The Maryland Court of Appeals granted the extension while it hears legal challenges to the state’s new legislative districts for state senators and delegates.
The primary election is scheduled for June 28, and the general election is set for Nov. 8.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org