2021 | Politics

Longtime party activist Puca running for District 2 County Council seat

Three candidates, all Democrats, are vying to succeed Rice

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Tony Puca

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Tony Puca, a longtime Democratic Party activist who has run for Congress and the state legislature, has now set his sights on succeeding Craig Rice as the council member representing upcounty District 2.

Puca, 73, has run unsuccessfully for Congress, state Senate and state House of Delegates seven times since 1978.

He has served twice as a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

A mortgage loan officer who lives in Germantown, Puca has been involved in politics on all levels in the county.

“The bottom line is I’m doing this because after 48 years of service, I’ve decided one last time to run for office,” he said.

Puca cited several examples of that service, including efforts to bolster female sports in the county’s school district and to keep a recreation center that served Black youths from shuttering.

“No one has done more for the people of the county than I have,” Puca said.

District 2 contains some of the most rural communities in the county, including Barnesville, Boyds, Comus, Damascus and Hyattstown. It also contains two of the fastest-growing areas in the county — Germantown and Clarksburg.

Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Marilyn Balcombe and civil rights attorney William Roberts are also running for the seat.

Rice, who has represented District 2 on the County Council since 2011, is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Candidates and who are running or considering running for County Council or executive include:

District 1

• Council Member Andrew Friedson, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to his current seat.

District 2

• Besides Tony Puca, William Roberts and Marilyn Balcombe, both Democrats, are running. The incumbent, Craig Rice, a Democrat, is term-limited.

District 3

• Council Member Sidney Katz, a Democrat, is running again for this seat. 

District 4

• Council Member Nancy Navarro, a Democrat, is term-limited and is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

Five candidates for County Council District 4, all Democrats, are:
• Natali Fani-González, a former member of the county’s Planning Board and a business/PR consultant
• Omar Lazo, co-owner of Los Chorros Restaurant in Wheaton
• Maricé Morales, an attorney and former state delegate
• Paul Schwartz, a former columnist for the Sentinel newspapers and currently a lobbyist in Annapolis, focusing on representing current and retired federal employees
• Dawn Luedtke of Ashton, an assistant attorney general for Maryland.

District 5

• Democrats Brian Anleu, chief of staff for the Montgomery County Planning Board, and Fatmata Barrie, a White Oak resident and attorney, are among those running for this seat, which is currently held by County Council member Tom Hucker.

Also running are William “Chip” Montier of Silver Spring, a Democrat who works as a paralegal for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; community organizer Daniel Koroma, a White Oak resident and Democrat; and fellow Democrat Jeremiah Pope, a fundraising consultant.

At-large

Multiple Democrats have either filed, announced or shown interest. The candidates who have filed are:
• Council Member Gabe Albornoz
• Council Member Evan Glass
• Scott Goldberg, an attorney and member of the county’s Democratic Central Committee
• Kim Kellerman of Poolesville, a mother of four
• Laurie-Anne Sayles, a Gaithersburg City Council member and Food and Drug Administration employee
• Brandy Brooks of Wheaton, an education and nonprofit leader
• Christa Tichy of Rockville, who works in construction.

Council Member Will Jawando and Kristin Mink have both announced they’re running. Mink, a former Montgomery County Public Schools teacher, works at The Center for Popular Democracy.

Neil Harris, a Gaithersburg City Council member, has filed his intent to use the county’s public election fund in an at-large race, but has said he doubts that will be get in the race.

County Executive 

Incumbent Marc Elrich, Council Members Tom Hucker and Hans Riemer and businessman David Blair, all Democrats, are running.

Devin Battley, a Democrat and former motorcycle shop owner in Gaithersburg, also said he’s interested in running.

The filing deadline for next year’s elections is Feb. 22. The primary election is scheduled for June 28, and the general election is set for Nov. 8.