In what a Germantown Pulse Editorial said was “the most important election for the Germantown area ever,” the UpCounty’s last best hope for second resident voice on the County Council finished just out of the money in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary Election for four At-Large Seats on the Council. Germantown’s Marilyn Balcombe finished fifth.
With 251 of the 255 election precincts counted, the top four Democratic vote-getters advancing to run against four Republicans in November are Hans Riemer, Will Jawando, Evan Glass, and Gabe Albornoz. They will face Republicans Robert Dyer, Shelly Skolnick, Penny Musser, and Chris P. Fiotes, Jr. in the November General Election.
Tuesday’s results leave Republican At-Large candidate Penny Musser of Boyds as the Germantown/Clarksburg area candidate on the ballot.
The four Democrats were selected from a field of 33 candidates. Riemer, of Takoma Park, was the lone incumbent Councilmember in the field earned the most votes with 50,205 or about 12.2 percent of the votes. Slightly less than half of the 102,972 Democratic voters selected Riemer as one of the four to move forward.
Riemer was followed by Silver Spring-based attorney and activist Will Jawando, who garnered 40,398 or 9.8 percent of the votes. In 2016 Jawando ran for the Congress and was the youngest candidate in Maryland’s 8th District congressional race. During the Obama Administration, Jawando served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public
Engagement, followed by a position as an advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in the U.S. Department of Education. In 2017, he spearheaded Summer R.I.S.E., a summer job shadowing program in partnership with Worksource Montgomery, state and county government, and Montgomery County Public Schools that placed over 400 high school students in enriching career experiences.
The third-highest vote getter was former CNN journalist and current Executive Director of the Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, Evan Glass. Also a Silver Spring resident, Glass garnered 32,712 votes or 7.9 percent. He helped found Conservation Montgomery and served as vice president of the board of Montgomery Housing Partnership. Glass is the first LGBT candidate for County Council in Montgomery County.
The fourth-highest vote getter was Gabe Albornoz, he is currently the Director of the County’s Recreation Department. A resident of Kensington, he earned 30,229 votes or 7.3 percent. Albornoz has served on 37 boards, commissions and committees, including serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, Co-Chair of the County’s Positive Youth Development Initiative as well as the Age Friendly Montgomery Advisory Group and on the County’s Economic Interests Committee.
Just missing the cut was Germantown resident Marilyn Balcombe, coming in fifth place with 25,5420. Balcombe is president and CEO of the Gaithersburg Germantown Chamber of Commerce. Other UpCounty candidates not making the cut were Charles Barkley, Graciela Rivera-Oven, and Lorna Phillips Forde of Germantown, and Neil Greenberger and Ron Colbert of Damascus, as well as Rosemary Arkoian of Goshen.
Other notables not among the top four are Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse, “free-range parent” Danielle Meitiv, former Councilmember Cherri Branson, and activist and teacher Chris Wilhelm.
Photos courtesy of the candidates, unless noted.