Primary day in Montgomery County will narrow the field in the races for county executive and county council — and effectively pick the next state’s attorney for the county.
In the race to be the Democratic nominee for county executive, incumbent Marc Elrich faces three challengers, including the same opponent he defeated by only a few dozen votes four years ago and a longtime member of the county council.
Elrich is touting his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to fight climate change in his bid for reelection.
Health care entrepreneur David Blair lost to Elrich by just 77 votes in the 2018 Democratic primary. Blair says he will bring “vision, leadership, and financial discipline” to the county.
Both Blair and At-Large Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer, who’s making a bid for county executive, both say more can be done when it comes to affordable housing and economic development in the county.
Riemer also singles out police reform and transportation infrastructure as top issues.
Political newcomer and tech business owner Peter James announced his campaign by highlighting his hyperlocal focus. He said that other candidates don’t have that quality.
“With [four] down county candidates, I thought there needs to be some that can represent the 70% of the population that lives outside the Beltway,” he wrote in a social media announcement.
On the Republican side, Reardon Sullivan is facing Shelly Skolnick for the GOP nomination.
Sullivan is the chairman of the county’s Republican Central Committee and owns an engineering consulting firm. He says public safety is a top priority.
Skolnick is a lawyer who’s previously been a candidate for county council, county executive and Congress and describes himself as a moderate Republican.
The Green Party’s Devin Battley is a county executive candidate for the general election only. The former motorcycle racer and dealer says he wants to fight fraud, waste and abuse by the government.
Check your district: 2 new seats coming to the county council
On primary day, voters in Montgomery County may find themselves in a new council district.
It’s the result of a ballot question that passed in 2020.
The number of district seats in the county council is growing from five to seven, while the number of at-large seats remains unchanged at four.
The new District 6 includes Wheaton, Aspen Hill and Glenmont.
Eight candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination.
- Natali Fani Gonzalez, former vice chair of the Montgomery County Park and Planning Commission
- Omar Lazo, real estate agent and owner of Los Chorros Restaurant in Wheaton
- Maricé Morales, an attorney and former state delegate
- Brit Siman-Tov
- Steve Solomon, radio host
- Christa Tichy, small business owner and master electrician
- Mark Trullinger
- Vicki S. Vergagni, president of the Glen Waye Gardens Condominium
For the Republican nomination, Viet H. Doan is running unopposed.
The new District 7 is in the “upcounty” portion of the county and includes Sandy Spring, Olney, Montgomery Village and Damascus.
There are seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
- Andrew A. Einsmann, real estate agent
- Paul Geller, community advocate and former president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs
- Sharif A. Hidayat, former Montgomery County police officer
- Dawn Luedtke, assistant state attorney general
- Jacqueline Manger, an official at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business
- Paul K. Schwartz, legislative analyst for National Active and Retired Federal Employees in Maryland
- Ben Wikner, pastor and nonprofit director
Republican Harold C. Maldonaldo is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.
Other council contests
In addition to the two new seats, there are a number of regular District seats up for grabs due to term limits.
In District 2, which is in the western half of the county and includes Germantown, Clarksburg and Dickerson, current Council member Craig Rice is term-limited.
There are three Democratic candidates running to replace him.
- Marilyn Balcombe is the CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce.
- Lorna Phillips Forde is a small-business owner and Germantown resident
- William Roberts is an attorney and the former chief counsel for Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Republican Dan Cuda, an Air Force veteran and former Pentagon management analyst, is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.
In District 4, a bow-tie-shaped sliver of the county that includes Silver Spring and North Bethesda, there are five Democrats running to replace Nancy Navarro, who is term-limited.
- Al Carr, member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Kensington since 2007
- Amy Ginsburg, executive director of Friends of White Flint
- Troy Murtha, law students and EMT with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department
- Kate Stewart, mayor of Takoma Park
- John F. Zittrauer, Silver Spring resident and bartender at Denizens Brewing
Republican Cheryl Riley, a public relations professional, is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.
The race for the District 5 seat, which is located along the Eastern edge of the county and includes parts of Leisure World, White Oak and Burtonsville, has drawn eight Democratic candidates.
The seat is currently held by Tom Hucker, who initially planned to give up the seat to run for country executive. Hucker, however, dropped out of the executive race in the spring and is now running for an at-large seat (More below).
The Democratic candidates are:
- Brian Anleu, chief of staff of the Montgomery County Planning Board
- Fatmata Barrie, immigration and special education attorney
- Christopher Bolton, former Chair of the East county Citizens Advisory Board
- Daniel Amara Koroma, civic activist
- Cary Lamari, civic activist and former president of the Montgomery County Civic Federation
- Kristin Mink, senior legislative organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy and former MCPS teacher
- William “Chip” Montier, former PTA president
- Jeremiah Pope, founder of a professional fundraising and consulting company and chief of staff to Maryland Del. Charlotte Crutchfield.
Republican Kate Woody is running unopposed for the GOP nomination.
In the 3rd District, which is in the center of the county and includes Gaithersburg and Rockville, incumbent council member Sidney Katz is running for his third term.
He faces two Democratic challengers for the nomination.
George Hernandez is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.
In the 1st District, which includes Potomac and Bethesda, first-term incumbent Council member Andrew Friedson is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and there is no Republican primary.
In the at-large council race, three of the current at-large members are running for reelection — Hans Riemer, who’s making a bid for county executive, is term-limited.
Also in the running for the Democratic nomination for one of the four at-large seats:
- Brandy H.M. Brooks, community organizer and racial equity consultant
- Dana E. Gassaway
- Scott Goldberg, former chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.
- Tom Hucker, currently the District 5 council member
- Laurie-Anne Sayles, former Gaithersburg city council member
Three Republican candidates are running for the GOP nomination for at-large seats.
Since there are only three candidates running and four at-large seats, the Republican candidates are guaranteed slots on the general election ballot.
Democratic voters in Montgomery County will effectively be picking the county’s next state’s attorney on primary day, because no Republicans are competing for the top prosecutor’s job in the county.
Incumbent John McCarthy, who has served as the county’s top prosecutor since 2007, is up for reelection and is facing three Democratic challengers.
McCarthy says he has reduced crime and the jail population during his time as state’s attorney.
However, one challenger, former Montgomery County assistant state’s attorney Tom DeGonia, says violent crime is on the rise and there’s no coherent plan to address surging gun crime.
Former assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel County Bernice Mireku-North is running on a promise to “hold prosecutors and police accountable to the public” and to develop what she calls “appropriate alternatives to incarceration.”
Perry Paylor, a deputy state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, vows to take on ghost guns and touts his record overseeing a large budget and case load in that county.
WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this report.