Sunday, April 20, 2014 2:43 PM
Published on: Thursday, August 22, 2013
By Holden Wilen
The race for Montgomery County’s next county executive is in full swing.
There are 10 months until the primary election, and the county has three well-known individuals vying for the county executive position: County Executive Ike Leggett, County Councilman Phil Andrews and former County Executive Doug Duncan.
Andrews is the only candidate who has formally filed his paperwork with the state board of elections, but Duncan and Leggett said they will be submitting their paperwork this fall.
Less than a year until the primary, the candidates are already in the process of fundraising and have begun drawing the lines for what many say will be a competitive race. According to the latest campaign finance reports, which were filed in January, Leggett has the most money in the bank with a total balance of $418,815, though he did not receive any contributions between Jan. 2012 and Jan. 2013. Duncan’s account has a balance of $243,314.14, and he raised $10,000 during the year. Andrews has an account balance of $53,255.74, and he raised $47,859.
Leggett made his decision to run for reelection in June and said he is still only in the planning stages of his campaign. His campaign will begin in September or October, he said, and will really take off in the spring.
Leggett said he made the decision to run again because he feels he still has work to do. Though he led the county through tough economic times during the Great Recession, he said, there are still transportation challenges to handle, and there is still a need for more job growth and affordable housing.
“I want to ensure the foundation for physical sustainability is not something that is temporary but is permanent. Without that, you undermine the ability to do a great deal of what you want. Secondly, it is important that we continue to provide for a great deal of the help and support that the community needs in terms of jobs,” Leggett said. “We need to continue to build our job base, and that is why the 100,000 jobs that we are pushing for are in fact realized. We need to enhance the transportation that goes with that. By growing transportation we continue to build that job network.”
Duncan said he has not been knocking on doors, but his campaign has involved lots of phone calls. In addition, Duncan said he has also been attending various meetings throughout the county. He also hosted a picnic back in May to raise money for the campaign.
“I have found people to be very responsive and that they want to hear what I have to say,” Duncan said.
The most important issues facing the county, Duncan said, are education, transportation and job growth. Duncan said his strength is getting things done, and if reelected, he will continue to work to get projects done, such as the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway.
Andrews has taken his campaign directly to the doorsteps of voters and has already knocked on more than 11,000 doors in the county. He said he is attempting to reach as many people as he can in different parts of the county.
In talking to residents, Andrews said one of the main concerns people have is about congestion. To combat this issue, Andrews supports the Purple Line and the Corridor Cities Transitway, but he also thinks the toll rates on the InterCounty Connector should be lowered.
“Reducing tolls on the ICC would help get traffic on the ICC and off of local roads,” Andrews said. “The state has been very stubborn regarding that issue. Yet we see very high tolls, $8 per day tolls that keep a lot of people off the highway and keep them on the local roads.”
To raise support for his campaign, Andrews held an ice cream party in June, and he has also made appearances at events such as the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. However, his main tool has been knocking on doors and directly introducing himself to voters to explain his message. The main message, Andrews said, is he wants to improve the county’s competitive edge.
“Affordability is a huge issue in the county, and we need to improve our competitiveness with other jurisdictions and do much better in Annapolis as well if we are going to improve the affordability of this county,” he said.