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Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors Endorses Elrich

Floreen receives endorsement from Apartment and Office Building Association in county executive race

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A prominent real estate organization in the greater Washington, D.C., area has chosen to endorse Democrat Marc Elrich in the Montgomery County executive race three weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors [GCAAR], which represents 11,000 realtors and is one of the largest real estate organizations in the United States, made the announcement late Wednesday afternoon in a press release.

In an interview with Bethesda Beat, Vice President of Government Affairs Ed Krauze said the organization endorsed Elrich largely because he had an “open door” attitude when it comes to discussing issues that affect the county. More specifically, he said Elrich’s strong support of installing solar panels on homes and other environmentally friendly policies was a factor.
Krauze said there are also other issues that are not directly related to real estate that GCAAR examines when making its endorsements.

“We care about the quality of life. Marc was a leader in bus rapid transit, but he’s also looking at infrastructure throughout the county and how to get people from point A to point B,” he said.
Danai Sky, the chair of GCAAR’s political campaign and campaign affairs committee added that real estate isn’t “bricks and sticks,” and that they take into account each candidate’s entire platform.

GCAAR had endorsed District 16 Del. Bill Frick in the June 26 primary. He came in last place among the six Democrats who ran.

[Bethesda Beat’s 2018 General Election Voters’ Guide includes information about candidates running for Republican and Democratic nominations and in nonpartisan races in the Nov. 6 election]

One of Elrich’s opponents, independent candidate Nancy Floreen, has long had a reputation as the candidate who is popular with the business and real estate community and many developers have contributed to her campaign . Additionally, Charles K. Nulsen III., the president of Bethesda-based Washington Property Co., started a Super PAC Aug. 29 called County Above Party, which had raised $155,500 through Sept. 21 to support Floreen’s bid.

In addition to Elrich and Floreen, Republican Robin Ficker of Boyds is also running to be county executive.
Sky said she was familiar with the characterization of Floreen as the pro-development candidate, but that the most important aspect of each candidate is “who would be the best fit and what we hope they accomplish.”

Elrich said in an interview that he was “really happy” when he found out Wednesday that he had received the endorsement. He said that although he and GCAAR leaders disagree on some issues, they’ve had “natural synergies” when it comes to issues such as school overcrowding, bus rapid transit and other quality of life issues.

“I think that I’ve been pretty strong on those things in terms of trying to be successful. We don’t always agree about everything, but I’ve had an open door with them,” he said.

Also Wednesday, the Apartment & Office Building Association Maryland PAC, which is the political action committee of the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington [AOBA], announced the organization has endorsed Floreen.

According to a press release, the AOBA PAC endorsed Floreen because of her pledge to expand the county’s tax base, instead of raising taxes.

“Ms. Floreen correctly stated that ‘continually raising taxes is just not sustainable’ and indeed such actions can discourage investment from new and existing businesses. Notably, these same employers and businesses bring much-needed jobs which can help enhance or create dynamic, thriving economic neighborhoods,” the press release stated.

The AOBA called Floreen a “seasoned veteran” and a “consensus builder” when it comes to creating favorable conditions for the commercial office market and preserving rental housing stock.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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