The general election in Montgomery County this fall is shaping up to be much more interesting – and heavily contested – than usual. Voters are apparently going to have to steel themselves for months more of dramatically slanted editorializing about Democratic primary winner Marc Elrich.
The Washington Post’s July 12 editorial about Councilmember Elrich casts him in an undeservedly negative light, one that doesn’t reflect the significance of his victory in the County Executive primary race or his ability to lead. While a razor-thin margin of victory ostensibly suggests weak support, he was one of a large field of well-established candidates. Elrich eschewed corporate, PAC, and union money. It is no small accomplishment for Councilmember Elrich to win when his strongest challenger, David Blair, spent millions of his own dollars and had the endorsement of The Post.
The July 12 editorial goes to misleading lengths to make Councilmember Elrich look bad. Yes, “none of his past or present council colleagues endorsed him in the primary.” With three members of the County Council running in the primary for County Executive, it was understandable that none of the Council members had endorsed any of their colleagues beforehand. Since his primary victory, five of his Council member colleagues have endorsed him in the general election – as reported in the same issue of the paper where this slanted editorial claimed only two Council members have now endorsed him. It is regrettable that the editorial was not up to date. Perhaps this was an inadvertent error, though it is consistent with a pattern of remarks that serve to undermine the credibility of Councilmember Elrich.
It is true that Elrich has been a solitary dissenting vote in a number of land use decisions. Perhaps he should be more willing to compromise. Or, maybe not: a dissenting vote often is a statement about how to make better choices in the future. In any case, as Councilmember Nancy Navarro commented in her endorsement of Elrich, people concerned about land use should be reassured that these matters are within the purview of the Council, not the County Executive.
Indeed, current County Executive Ike Leggett, who has differed with Councilmember Elrich on a number of issues, is supporting his candidacy for County Executive over “independent” challenger Councilmember Nancy Floreen. Floreen’s decision to leave the Democratic Party in order to challenge Councilmember Elrich in the general election — rather than participating in the Democratic primary like her Council colleagues — gives The Washington Post more chances to attack his strong record of serving the people of Montgomery County.
Councilmember Elrich’s victory in the primary demonstrated that voters share his basic priorities: to enhance the quality of life in our county by making improvements to educational and job opportunities, transportation infrastructure, affordable housing and safety net provisions, while addressing systemic inequities, to ensure that our diverse communities have full access to these resources.
Jeffrey Rubin, Potomac
The writer is a leader of the Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund.