Only 11 weeks until the June primary election, and here’s a leading candidate for county executive, in a county of one million people, meeting with fewer than two dozen voters.
Fifteen Montgomery County voters, to be exact, were on hand Thursday night to talk issues with Doug Duncan, former and possibly future county executive. It gives you some sense of the involvement of the voters — or the disengagement of voters — in a local election in a nonpresidential election year. The venue, in this case. was a meeting of Montgomery County Green Democrats at a restaurant on Rockville Pike. Also on hand was one other candidate, Hrant Jamgochian, running for House of Delegates in District 16. All involved last night — both candidates and voters — are Democrats, far as I know.
We’re in the retail phase of this primary election season of 2014. Come one, come all, come anyone who’s interested. No need to worry about being trampled by the masses. You — yes, you — can take the measure of the candidates, if you wish, up close and personal. Got questions? Ask away. The politicians will answer, as best they can. Gatherings like this will be taking place all over Montgomery County, seven nights a week, right up until election day. Plus innumerable breakfast and lunch meetings as well. The point is, no voter can claim to lack for an opportunity to see and talk with candidates before making a decision and casting a ballot.
It would be unfair, obviously, to evaluate any one candidate without also considering all the candidates running for the same office. Suffice it to say that Duncan seemed in fine fiddle Thursday night. The former Rockville mayor and former county executive obviously knows Montgomery County like the back of his hand. He handles all questions smoothly. The only question that ruffled his feathers even a little was a query about a proposal to allow suburban residents to keep chickens in their backyards. The issue has already been decided in the negative, and I doubt it will be revisited in the near future. For the record, Duncan indicated he has nothing against poultry, but he doesn’t think chickens — and especially not roosters — are a good idea in residential neighborhoods.
The other candidates running for county executive are Democrats Ike Leggett, the current executive, and Councilman Phil Andrews; and Republican Jim Shalleck.
Organizations of all kinds will sponsor forums to which they’ll invite all four executive candidates, so you can compare them side-by-side. Two forums I know of coming up before the end of the month are:
- St. Jude Catholic Church, 12701 Veirs Mill Road, Rockville, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23.
- Temple Beth Ami, 14330 Travilah Rd, Rockville, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30.
The lone delegate candidate was invited to attend by Montgomery Green Democrats leader Joan Jacobs. He is Hrant Jamgochian, who also ran in the District 16 primary in 2010. In a Democratic field of 13 that year, Jamgochian finished fifth, with 2,964 votes. This year, only 11 Democrats are contending for the three delegate seats. One of the delegate seats is open, since Del. Susan Lee is running for the District 16 State Senate seat.
Again, it’s unfair to judge one candidate without considering all 11. But I think it’s fair to say that Jamgochian is a candidate with an unusual depth of experience and knowledge. He appears to have a very good shot at winning the open delegate seat in District 16 this year.
Doug Duncan’s website is DougDuncan.com
Hrant Jamgochian’s website is www.gojamgo.org
(Jacobs indicated that the Green Democrats hope to endorse candidates within a few weeks.)
— John Hayden