More than a week after filing her intent to run, Montgomery County Council member Nancy Floreen has announced she will run as an independent for County Executive in a move local political watchers say could severely divide the Democratic vote in November.
Meanwhile, Republican Robin Ficker says he isn’t concerned if Floreen gets on the ballot – or not. “I think I will win whether or not she gets her signatures and gets on the ballot,” Ficker said.
While Floreen filed her paperwork to run last week, she said she only did so to meet the July 2 deadline, saying at the time in a statement she had yet to make up her mind as not all the votes had been counted in the Democratic Primary with no winner declared.
Now that fellow County Council member Marc Elrich is the unofficial winner of the Democratic Primary, Floreen announced Wednesday her intent to enter the race as an independent.
“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,” Floreen said in a statement. “That’s not my way. I want to get things done for all of us.”
Before she can get her name on the ballot, at least 6,400 registered voters will have to sign a petition supporting her candidacy.
While Floreen said she would wait until the Board of Elections certified the election results, she has made her decision to jump into the race before Elrich’s nomination as the Democratic candidate is secured. If the results hold, she will face Elrich and Republican candidate Robin Ficker in the November election.
When asked about the possibility of facing Floreen on the ballot, Elrich said Floreen does not offer much of a contrast against his candidacy.
“Her voting record on other than development is pretty much identical to mine,” Elrich said
For 16 years, Floreen has served as a member of the County Council spending much of that time as chair of the County Council Planning, Housing & Economic Development Committee. Because of an amendment to the County Charter that voters passed in 2016 limiting members of the County Council to three consecutive terms, Floreen could not seek reelection in 2018.
Prior to her election to the County Council in 2002, Floreen served as the Mayor of Garrett Park for one-and-a-half terms.
For his time on the Council, Elrich as voiced his skepticism about some of the County’s master plans, arguing that developers need to pay more in taxes in order to help fund the needed infrastructure that comes with increased growth.
Floreen on the other hand, has had a much more pro-development voting record, arguing that the County needs to accommodate growth if it wants to progress.