And so it’s over – or is it?
Councilman Marc Elrich apparently survived an attempt by local businessman Donald Trump, I mean David Trone, I mean David Blair to buy the Democratic nomination for county executive. By just 80 votes Elrich emerged victorious from this summer’s primary election only to face a cornucopia of challenges headed into the fall general election.
For voters everywhere, this election should put aside the ridiculous notion that one vote doesn’t count. By the slimmest of margins Elrich emerged victorious. Meanwhile Blair most certainly will push for a recount – who wouldn’t if you only lost by 80 votes?
Nancy Floreen, a county councilmember who apparently detests Elrich is at the ready – eager to toss her hat into the ring as an independent candidate to try and stymie Elrich.
Elrich isn’t seen widely popular with business interests while Floreen’s is. For his enemies Elrich is the epitome of the elitist tree-hugging liberal from the People’s Republic of Takoma Park while Floreen is seen as more of a centrist – at least compared to Elrich.
Both labels are gross over-simplifications of reality. Still in politics appearances often hold more sway than reality.
But wait. There’s more. It dices and slices and makes Julian fries – whatever they are.
Over on the Republican side, Robin Ficker – who campaigned for and got term limits for county council members and swore in a forum sponsored by The Sentinel he wasn’t spearheading the effort in order to run for office – is now sitting (after emerging from an uncontested Republican primary) in a very strong position to take over the county executive seat if the divisive Democrats continue to bicker.
Ficker, a well-known gadfly in political circles pants with delight watching Democrats who look to be on the verge of disintegrating.
Sound familiar? While the situation isn’t a direct parallel with the 2016 presidential election, it has some striking similarities.
The Democrat is emerging from a tough primary challenge and the party seems fractured. Ficker fancies himself a populist. Though not as crude as President Donald Trump, Ficker does pride himself on heckling NBA referees and getting publicity for doing so.
This will all make for great political theater as we march toward the 2018 midterm general election and the drama probably will help drive up local voter turnout. Who doesn’t like a good street brawl?
But the seriousness of this coming election cannot be understated.
At issue is the top executive seat in the county – a job that enjoys a great deal of policy making power.
Robin Ficker represents the GOP’s best chance in a generation to take away the election from a Democratic party many in the county consider elitist, ineffective and out of touch with the lives of those trying to make ends meet.
Ficker may not have all the answers, but to those who are tired of escalating taxes on everything from plastic garbage bags to the falling rain, his cries of draining the local swamp appeals to many who otherwise may not vote or would hold their nose and pull the lever for someone they don’t like and have little hope of supporting.
The Democrats, with their swagger and smugness, believe Blue Montgomery County will always remain within their rule.
It is this arrogance that could prove to be their undoing, as it was on the national scene with the election of “King Wannabe” Donald Trump.
Yes, the hapless Democrats could make the same mistake locally. Yes, Ficker has a better chance than any Republican in recent memory to become the next executive.
There are many voters in the county so upset with the indifference and deaf ears of the council that they already turned to Ficker and voted for term limits.
That was the shot across the bow to local Democrats. The primaries show they seemingly didn’t hear it.
Now they are embroiled in a fight to be the “anointed one” who they believe will automatically be elected to the county’s top spot.
The Democrats got handed their hats in the national election with such assumptions and they got smacked silly in the last Maryland gubernatorial race because of similar sentiments.
It is often said there is nothing worse than a Republican – unless it’s a hapless Democrat.
Can Floreen, Elrich and Blair make their peace? Does anyone care? Certainly not Ficker - who offers a vision for the county quite different from the average Democratic politician and most county registered voters.
How this falls out is anyone’s guess at this point – but it’s going to be an interesting ride until November – that much is clear.