Valerie Ervin Yet To Say If She’ll Seek Re-Election Or Aim Higher
Silence Complicates Early Maneuvering For County Council Seats
A month after County Executive Ike Leggett finally tipped his hand on his plans for 2014, County Councilmember Valerie Ervin remains mum on her next move.
Political insiders, while betting she will ultimately opt to run for a third term from her Silver Spring-based seat — owing in part to a limited countywide political and financial base with Leggett in the race — acknowledge having no definitive idea what the sometimes mercurial Ervin will do.
In the meantime, her silence is having a ripple effect on the early jockeying for her District 5 seat as well as council’s at-large slots — two of which are occupied by Councilmembers Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, who dropped their county executive ambitions once Leggett decided to run again.
That leaves Ervin, who has made no secret of her ambition to be the county’s first female elected executive, as the only incumbent councilmember yet to say whether she’ll seek re-election or aim higher.
“I’m doing due diligence — I haven’t made the decision,” she said in a recent interview, adding: “Conversations are definitely underway.”
She was uncertain when she will decide, saying: “There is no real reason to be in a hurry. The filing deadline is not until next February.”
Her stance has left at least one potential successor, Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board Chair Evan Glass, eyeing alternative options.
“Valerie and I have had a strong relationship… and she continues to encourage me as I seek out ways to serve our county,” declared Glass, 36, a former CNN producer who runs his own strategic communications shop. Saying he would not run against Ervin in District 5 if she seeks re-election, Glass added, “Absent her decision, people from throughout the county have been encouraging me to explore an at-large council seat.”
The latter contest, in which a total of four seats will be at stake, is already getting a bit crowded well in advance of the June 2014 primary. The four incumbents — Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, along with Elrich and Leventhal — have said they intend to seek re-election, and Vivian Malloy, an at-large member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, formally filed in mid-May.
That was a month before Leggett decided to seek re-election — and while Elrich and Leventhal were eyeing the executive’s job.
For her part, Malloy, 58, said she initially jumped into the race because “some of them indicated they were running for something else — at least two of them talked about it…When you let the public know you’re looking at another avenue, I thought it was fair game. That seat was open, as far as I’m concerned.”
Nonetheless, Malloy, a retired major in the Army Nurse Corps, said she is now in the race to stay. A county resident since 1990, she has been active in local Democratic politics while helping to organize minority health care outreach programs; she is touting her health care experience in her running.
Malloy, who lives in Olney, also sees geographic distribution of the council’s current at-large members as an issue; Elrich, Leventhal and Riemer are all Takoma Park residents.
“I thought people need to have a little bit more diversity of representation. We have three of our at-large all from one small area,” Malloy said. “I do come from another section of the county.”
Meanwhile, if Ervin doesn’t seek re-election, Glass is unlikely to be the only aspirant for the District 5 seat. Terrill North, a vice president of the Maryland ACLU, last month registered a campaign committee with the state Board of Elections, and Christopher Barclay, president of the county’s Board of Education, has been mentioned. Neither Barclay nor North responded to requests for comment this week.
Glass — whether he were to run from District 5 or at large — would, if successful, be the County Council’s first openly gay member.
“If I were to run for County Council, I would be running on a wide platform of the issues of importance,” said Glass, who currently sits on the boards of the Montgomery Housing Partnership and Conservation Montgomery as well as Equality Maryland. “I happen to be a gay man, but that does not define me or my potential candidacy.”