Montgomery Council Chairman Tom Hucker considers campaign for county executive

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Frustrated by an incumbent president whose leadership style he sees as slow, Montgomery County Council Chairman Tom Hucker (D) formed an “exploratory” committee ahead of a long-awaited offer to topple County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D) in 2022.

Montgomery County Council Chairman Tom Hucker (D) announced on Thursday that he had formed an “exploratory committee” to consider whether to challenge outgoing Democratic county executive Marc Elrich (D) in 2022 . (Maryland Matters / Bruce DePuyt)

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Frustrated by an incumbent president whose leadership style he sees as slow, Montgomery County Council Chairman Tom Hucker (D) formed an “exploratory” committee ahead of a long-awaited offer to topple County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D) in 2022.

Hucker is hosting a campaign event tonight at Kaldi’s Social Home in Silver Spring, a location he chose because it is a small business owned by blacks and immigrants.

Hucker becomes the third Democrat to announce plans to challenge Elrich, who became the state’s top county official in 2018, after a narrow victory in the primaries.

Considering to challenge Elrich, with whom he enjoys a friendly relationship, Hucker spoke at length with associates around Montgomery and others with whom he befriended during his two terms at the House of Delegates.

The Hucker Council District includes the politically active and liberal southeastern corner of Montgomery County, an area that includes Takoma Park, where Elrich served as a city councilor before winning a county council seat.

Although the two have overlapping bases of support and have worked together on countless issues, Hucker was asked to step down from a third term on the board due to frustrations over Elrich’s leadership style.

“He’s in a hurry by unions, business leaders and everyone” to come forward, said a well-known and politically active Democrat with whom Hucker spoke.

Elrich won the 2018 primary with just 77 votes against businessman David Blair, winning 29.02% of the vote against 28.96% for Blair.

He received 64 percent of the vote in a three-candidate general election campaign that included longtime Democrat Council member Nancy Floreen, who ran as an Independent, and Republican Robin Ficker, a eternal candidate.

The activist – who spoke on condition of anonymity – said there is a broad belief among political insiders that Elrich could be vulnerable.

Elrich “did not build that 29% [and] Tom knows it, “he added.” There has been a lack of purpose and immediacy on the part of the county executive. “

Hucker, the founder of Progressive Maryland, is expected to focus on economic development, social justice and expanding the county’s transit system.

In an email to supporters on Thursday afternoon, he said he would make a “special announcement”.

“Our county needs progressive, forward-thinking change,” Hucker wrote. “We can make it happen – but only with your support. The announcement, an invitation to the rally, did not mention his plans to challenge Elrich.

Blair announced his intention to run for the executive in March. Former CEO of a health services company and philanthropist, Blair spent over $ 5 million on the 2018 race and is expected to dig deep into next year’s battle again.

Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer (D) launched his campaign for the county executive last month. Unlike Hucker, who could be re-elected to the board if he so chooses, Riemer is in his third term and is unable to run for office again in his personal capacity due to Montgomery’s term limit law.

In Montgomery County, Republicans are not counted in local elections. Whether the presence of so many primary challengers works to Elrich’s advantage until Democratic voters go to the polls next June won’t be known.

It took several attempts for Elrich to win a county council seat, but he was the top voter in the 2010 and 2014 elections. He has close ties to the politically powerful unions in the county.

Elrich made headlines for his battles with Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) over the state’s response to the pandemic, a controversial highway widening project and other issues.

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