WASHINGTON — It took more than 10,000 signatures on a petition, but Neal Simon has made it. He submitted 12,000 signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections and now he has landed a spot on the ballot as an independent in the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Sen. Democrat Ben Cardin.
Cardin is running for a third term.
Simon is a businessman — the Montgomery County resident is the CEO of Bronfman Rothschild, a Rockville-based wealth management and retirement advisory firm.
Simon said he has taken a leave of absence from his business to run for office. He explained his decision to run as an Independent by explaining his personal history.
“I grew up in a household where my mother was a Democrat, my father was a Republican. I always believed in voting for the best candidate regardless of what the party label was,” said Simon.
“Both parties, I think, have been pulled to extremes that no longer represent the bulk of Americans,” he said.
Asked about specific issues, Simon said on abortion that he supports a woman’s right to choose.
He added, “There is room for some discussion about the parameters around abortion.”
Asked if he wants restrictions on abortion in some cases, Simon repeated his assertion: “I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”
When it comes to health care, Simon explained, “I don’t believe in single-payer health care, I believe too deeply in the private sector and the innovations that come out of the private sector.”
The bottom line, Simon said, is that taking care of people who need medical help is an “American value.”
“If somebody is hit by a car in the street, we’re going to take care of that person — whether or not they can afford health care and whether they have insurance,” he said.
In Maryland, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly two to one, but there are 416,648 independent voters statewide — they’re listed as unaffiliated on state board of elections records.
In Montgomery County, there are 140,391 independent voters — the largest share of unaffiliated voters in the state.
Cardin is running for a third term in the U.S. Senate.
According to the Cook Political report, Cardin’s seat is rated “Solid-D”, meaning the race is not considered competitive.
Also challenging Cardin is Republican Tony Campbell, Libertarian Arvin Vohra, Green Party member Mia Mason and independents Steve Gladstone and Michael Puskar.
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