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It Will Be a Three-Way Race for County Executive; Floreen Declares Candidacy; Blair Has Not Yet Give

First, there were seven candidates for Montgomery County Executive. Then there were two. Now, there are three candidates for the top political spot in the County. Councilmember Nancy Floreen has officially declared her candidacy for County Executive. She will take on Marc Elrich who won the Democratic Primary Election by just 80 votes over David Blair. The Blair Campaign also signaled that the Darnestown businessman has not yet given up, just yet.

Boyds resident Robin Ficker is the Republican nominee. He ran unopposed in June’s primary. If Floreen is successful in garnering enough signatures to appear on the ballot, it will most likely be a three-way race between Floreen, Elrich, and Ficker in November.

Floreen announced her intentions in a statement today “I am a candidate for County Executive – unexpectedly, I admit – because it would be a terrible loss for this county to fall into the sort of polarized posturing that has poisoned our national politics. That’s not my way. I want to get things done for all of us. We need to attract good jobs for our people, provide housing for everyone, and reinforce our tax base so we can continue to provide the services people need. That’s what I want to do. I hope the voters will help me work to do the things we need to do and leave the posturing to others.”

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has not yet certified Elrich’s victory, which is expected to happen on July 16. Also today, the Blair campaign released a statement on the primary election signaling that the July 16 certification may not be the last word on the results.

“While we recognize that many are eager for a definitive outcome to the Montgomery County Executive race,” said Laura Evans Manatos, spokeswoman for the Blair campaign, “we must respect the election process and let the Board of Elections finish their audit and certify the results. We are also closely reviewing the final results to determine if a recount is appropriate. The residents of Montgomery County deserve our collective patience in this important election.”

Floreen filed an intent to seek office as a candidate the general election in November. On Monday, July 9 she officially changed her party designation from Democrat to unaffiliated, to run as an Independent candidate. Floreen, 66, has served as an At-Large member County Council as a Democrat since she was first elected in 2002. She will be forced out the At-Large Council seat by the County’s newly implemented term limits. Before serving on the County Council, Floreen served as the chair of the council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee. She is also a former mayor of Garrett Park.

“Although the unofficial returns of the Democratic primary for County Executive are in, those results have not yet been certified by the Board of Elections. Given the tiny margin in unofficial returns, I am also aware that a recount of the ballots is likely,” said the statement from Floreen. “Notwithstanding all this, I am announcing that I will be circulating nominating petitions for the office of County Executive for the November general election beginning today.”

Maryland State law also requires Floreen to collect signatures from at least one percent of Montgomery County’s eligible voters, meaning she’ll have to gather more than 6,400 names by August 6.

“In this county, local government has always been about listening to people’s problems and figuring out the most effective and most efficient ways to help them. It has never been a partisan process, and it has built a great county,” continued the statement.

“The critical interests of Montgomery County families are ill-served when any candidate can prevail with barely 29 percent of the one-third of Democrats who turned out, the Republicans had no choice at all, and the county’s 150,000 independent voters were prevented by law from voting in either contest. There is no mandate here. Most county voters have yet to be heard from,” said Floreen.

After almost two weeks of canvassing the total 129,337 votes cast in the June 26 election, the Montgomery County Board of Elections released the results late Sunday night. Election officials say that Elrich came out on top by just 80 votes, earning 27,529 votes, to Blair’s 37,449 votes. Elrich garnered 29.02 percent of the votes, while Blair received 28.95 percent of the votes.

“I am determined to give Montgomery County a third, independent choice come November. I am heartened by the positive response this effort has already won. I call upon all Democrats, independents, and Republicans to say ‘no’ to both flawed extremes, to think for themselves, and to put principle and pragmatism above purely party politics. Montgomery County deserves no less.”

There are 119 days until the November 6 General Election. It promises to be an exciting and interesting political season in Montgomery County.

Photos by Germantown Pulse.

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