A Heartfelt Endorsement of Doug Duncan, From A Reliable Source

My email inbox today brought an unusually heartfelt political endorsement. I found it to be a touching tribute, and thought readers might find it interesting as well.



Dear Bernard,

Today marks the third day of early voting, it also marks the 34th Anniversary of the day I married Doug. On our Anniversary Week, I had the pleasure of voting for my husband, Doug Duncan, to be the next Montgomery County Executive.

I voted for him for many of the same reasons that I married him. Besides finding him handsome, with a bright smile and bluer eyes than I have ever seen, what stood out most was how truly good and genuine of a person he was and is. Since we were 22 years old Doug has always wanted to be a public servant who had the opportunity to shape his community with compassion, competency and a diligent eye for getting things done. I have always been taken by his sense of pride for his home, Montgomery County.

We need his guiding hand again. Montgomery County is facing serious challenges – overcrowding in schools, leading the state in job loss, record high poverty and the unopened and unsafe Silver Spring Transit Center to name a few. He can get the job done and has shown before how great an Executive he can be. This election is about the future and a leader moving us forward. Doug is that leader, that public servant who has laid out his vision for where he wants to take us. So, on our 34th Anniversary, I am asking you to please join me in Voting for Doug Duncan for Montgomery County Executive.

With much appreciation,


Early voting continues all weekend, even on Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What does it all mean? It means there are no excuses for failing to vote in the primary election, if you are a registered voter and registered as either a Democrat or a Republican. Both parties have primary elections, although the Democrats offer many more contested primaries, and many choices of qualified candidates. In many parts of Maryland, Republicans have only one candidate running for an office, meaning no contest. An important exception for Republicans is the governor’s race, where four candidates are vying for the right to face the Democratic nominee for governor in the November General Election. Please vote for the candidates of your choice.

— (Bernard) John Hayden

Gazette Endorses Phil Andrews For Montgomery County Executive

The Gazette this week endorsed Phil Andrews for Montgomery County executive in the June 24 Democratic primary, contradicting The Washington Post, which gave incumbent Ike Leggett a somewhat tepid endorsement for re-election on May 3. The Post and The Gazette are linked by ownership, but have independent editorial boards.

Doug Duncan’s failure to win either endorsement can hardly be considered a fatal blow. Both The Post and The Gazette had complimentary things to say about Duncan, and he appears to have wide name recognition.

What we have here, Montgomery County, is a down-to-the-wire three-way race for county executive. The Gazette endorsement certifies it as such, if ever there was any doubt. Who can win a majority in the Democratic primary? Probably none of the above. We’re most likely looking at a county executive chosen by plurality.

Turnout in early voting, June 12-19, and on Election Day, June 24, will be critical. The outcome might depend on which of the three has the most committed voters.

Here’s what the Gazette said about Andrews:

We pondered long on whom to endorse, because each provides a set of skills that could be useful over the next four years. Ultimately, we decided Andrews offers a better prescription as the county emerges from our economic hardships.

“For one, Andrews promises to be tight with our money. As we’re in the middle of a sputtering recovery, Montgomery County needs four years of that. In a March op-ed piece in The Gazette, he showed where he would trim $40 million from the recently passed budget, and where he would redirect the money: tax relief, infrastructure maintenance, expanded library hours and increased school resource officers. These are all tangible services, showing Andrews would be a wise steward of the taxes we pay.”

And here’s what The Post said about Leggett:

Mr. Leggett is a skilled, strategically savvy leader who is widely admired for his civility and political acuity. The caveat is that he is also at least in part the candidate of the status quo. And in Montgomery, the status quo is not quite right.

“In endorsing him in the June 24 primary, we are hoping that Mr. Leggett will intensify the challenge he has posed in recent years to the county’s entrenched interests. Chief among those interests are Montgomery’s public employee unions.”

I doubt that Ike Leggett is particularly worried at this point. He has TV ads scheduled. Duncan might be in trouble, unless he can match Leggett’s advertising budget. And Andrews is coming up strong on the outside.

You can read the Gazette’s endorsement of Andrews here.

The Post’s endorsement of Leggett is here.

I leave you with this reminder: The deadline for registering to vote, or for changing your party affiliation, is June 3. Is there an adult in your household who’s not a registered voter? Young adults who will turn 18 by the November election are eligible to register and vote in the June 24 primary.

— John Hayden

Retail Politics In Montgomery County Before 2014 Democratic Primary

DOUG DUNCAN MEETING WITH GREEN DEMOCRATS. (Photo Tweeted by Duncan after the meeting.)

DOUG DUNCAN MEETING WITH GREEN DEMOCRATS, photo tweeted by Duncan after the meeting.

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.

HRANT JAMGOCHIAN  —  Campaign slogan: “Hard to pronounce. Easy to support!”

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