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

Montgomery County Incumbents Endorsed By Washington Post

The Washington Post is showing a decided preference on its editorial page for incumbents. The newspaper’s endorsements all make sense, but the challengers deserve more thoughtful consideration.

In the Montgomery County Council and County Executive June 24 primary elections, The Post endorsed every incumbent in sight. The only incumbents not endorsed are two who aren’t running by their own choice.

County Executive

For Montgomery County Executive, The Post endorsed Isiah Leggett, with a caveat regarding government spending. You’ll have to read the May 3, 2014, editorial for the newspaper’s bloated, four-paragraph explanation of the caveat.

The Post was correct to point out that all three candidates for executive — Leggett, Doug Duncan, and Phil Andrews — are competent, committed and honest. To quote The Post, “Any one of them would make an able county executive in Montgomery, where one in six Marylanders live.” The newspaper had complimentary things to say about both Duncan and Andrews. Voters face a tough decision in the Democratic primary for County Executive.

County Council

This week, The Post endorsed all four at-large County Council members, in the following order:

  • Nancy Floreen, seeking a fourth term.
  • George Leventhal, also seeking a fourth term.
  • Marc Elrich, seeking a third term.
  • Hans Riemer, seeking only his second term.

I wonder if the order of the endorsements was based on seniority, or on the editorial board’s preference. It wasn’t alphabetical, and I doubt it was random.

The Post dismissed the two Democratic challengers for at-large council seats in a way that I thought was impolite. Just my opinion. The Post opined that Beth Daly is not only “misguided,” but also “dead wrong.” The editorial board failed to even mention at-large candidate Vivian Malloy by name.

It’s unfortunate that we have only two Democratic challengers running for four at-large seats. In my opinion, both Daly and Malloy appear ready and able to serve on the County Council, and both challengers would bring to the table a perspective that would add to, not diminish, the council.

In contests for the five district seats, The Post endorsed the following incumbents:

  • Roger Berliner in District 1.
  • Craig Rice in District 2.

In District 4, incumbent Nancy Navarro is running unopposed.

For the two districts that do not have an incumbent in the mix, The Post endorsed:

  • Tom Moore in District 3.
  • Evan Glass in District 5.

It would not be easy to rebut any of the above endorsements. All of the incumbents are indeed worthy of re-election, based on their records. But I am disappointed that The Post failed to adequately acknowledge the council challengers. For County Council as well as for Executive, the voters face difficult choices among serious candidates.

General Assembly

The Washington Post was nearly as respectful of Montgomery County incumbents running for re-election to State Senate and House of Delegates. Incumbents are not seeking re-election in a number of places, resulting in some spirited contests in several districts. If you live in District 17 (Rockville or Gaithersburg) or District 18 (Silver Spring, Chevy Chase, Wheaton) you might want to consult the voter guides and endorsements of your choice. You can read the Post’s views on all the MoCo General Assembly candidates here.

(Editor’s Note: I take exception to some of The Post’s endorsements in the competitive District 17 race for three seats in the House of Delegates. In my opinion, both Del. Kumar Barve (majority leader of the House) and Del. Jim Gilchrist (a member of the Environmental Matters Committee), are valued representatives for District 17, and should be re-elected. For the third seat, which is open, I voted for Laurie-Anne Sayles, who I believe is the most promising of the other candidates. I will withhold  comment on the nasty District 17 race for State Senate.)

Only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic primary and registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary. All voters may vote for candidates of any party in the November General Election.

Hardly anybody reads the MSM anymore. Few people would be aware of the newspaper endorsements if we didn’t announce them here in the blogosphere. You can read The Post’s endorsements for County Council here, and the endorsement for County Executive here.

You can find helpful links to several sources of objective information about the candidates, including the League of Women Voters Guide, the Gazette voter guide, and the WAMU.org voter guide right here.

— John Hayden