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Republicans ready for competitive District 2 race

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For 14 years, the County Council has gone without a Republican. Now two men vying in the primary think they can change that if given the chance.

Ed Amatetti, a Brooklyn-born former middle- and high-school science teacher, and Kyle Sefcik, a Gaithersburg-based professional mixed martial arts fighter-turned-small business owner, have both said 2018 is a ripe time for a Republican to replace incumbent Craig Rice in District 2.

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GOP’s Skolnick runs for Council at-large

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Shelly SkolnickShelly Skolnick Courtesy PhotoLocal attorney Shelly Skolnick’s decision to run for an at-large seat on the County Council as a Republican puts the veteran of six campaigns – including runs for Congress, County Council and County Executive – among the thin ranks of those running for countywide office under the GOP banner. Despite Montgomery County’s solid blue reputation, Skolnick hopes he can win over Democratic voters with his pragmatic ideas.

“I’m not an ideologue and I’m not an extremist,” Skolnick said. “Some of my ideas go against the Republican orthodoxy.”

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Ficker claims no one denied him access at public meetings in the past

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Robin FickerRobin Ficker FILE PHOTO  On Dec. 26 during an impromptu County Council meeting, Republican candidate for County Executive and political activist Robin Ficker was not given a spot to speak at the public hearing.

While Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large), did not allow Ficker to speak at the Dec. 26 public hearing, many residents who frequent Council meetings and testify – including Ficker – said they have never had trouble voicing their opposition at the Council building before.

“He's making the Council a political body instead of a public body,” said Ficker, who has told the Sentinel he has never had trouble testifying at the Council before.

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Local GOP charts new course with recent election

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Mark UncapherMark Uncapher PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIANMontgomery County Republicans ousted their first-term leader in favor of returning a former chairman to the party's top spot on Tuesday, amid concerns over candidate recruitment and the party's image in the age of Donald Trump.

The close vote (22-24) of the MCGOP Central Committee replaced first-term Chairman Richard Jurgena in favor of Treasurer Mark Uncapher, who returns to the Chairmanship he once held for five terms.  Members voting to oust Jurgena stressed the need to change strategy in what will be a pivotal midterm election next year.

"I think we need to move in a different direction," former party chairman Michael Higgs said during a speech nominating Uncapher for the Chairmanship.

Higgs noted that Montgomery County will play an important role in next year's gubernatorial election, and with "everything" resting on whether Republicans can convince independents and Democrats who may like Governor Larry Hogan (R) to come out and vote for a Republican even if they dislike President Trump, a seasoned hand needs to be at the helm.

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Local GOP offices vandalized

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MC Republicans place a sign on their front law disavowing hate signs pasted on their front door 1Local Republicans place a sign on their front lawn disavowing hate signs pasted on their front door. COURTESY PHOTO  Although Montgomery County Police say they are investigating the posting of white supremacist fliers on the front door of the Montgomery County Republican Party headquarters as an act of vandalism, MCGOP Central Committee Chairman Richard Jurgena says the posting of those fliers is a hate crime against Republicans by those who aim to smear them as racists.

"It is indeed an act to smear our party with an implication that we support the beliefs of the posters, which we definitely do not believe in or support in any way," Jurgena said. "We believe this was a hate crime."

Late Saturday evening around 10:00 p.m. security footage recorded two individuals approaching the front door of the GOP office on Crabbs Branch Way with what appeared to be a jar containing a liquid mixture and white paper posters.

A photo provided by Jurgena shows four posters bearing the logo of the Patriots’ Front – a white supremacist group – as well as the address of the Bloodandsoil.com website attached to the office’s entrance. The website accessible at the Bloodandsoil.com address features a manifesto that appears to be consistent with white supremacist views.

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Hoeber announces bid for 6th Congressional District

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Hoeber campaign kick offAmie Hoeber speaks at her campaign kick off in Potomac.   PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN Republican Amie Hoeber kicked off her 2018 campaign for Maryland's 6th Congressional District on Tuesday surrounded by enthusiastic supporters at the Normandie Farm Restaurant in Potomac.

Hoeber pledged to use her victory to work across the aisle to make Congress more productive and to help Republican Gov. Larry Hogan bring federal funding to the 6th District to tackle her priorities – transportation projects, creating and protecting jobs, stopping MS-13 gang crime from spreading and opioid addiction.

"Many people think the district is so diverse that it can't be brought together," Hoeber said. "Well I have spent the last two-and-a-half years working to learn the district and what does bring us together. These problems can only be solved by working together. I am willing and able to work across all lines to get things done."

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County executive candidates square off

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POTOMAC – Saturday’s candidate forum was one of the first opportunities for the four men filed to run for County Executive to take the stage together and speak to the public directly.

On Saturday, the Montgomery County Muslim Council hosted a forum at the Potomac Community Center for the four people who filed to run for County Executive candidates and current County Council member Roger Berliner (D-1) Marc Elrich (D- at large), George Leventhal (D- at large), and attorney and former member of the Maryland House of Delegates Robin Ficker.

The candidates answered questions about diversity, profiling, schools and taxes.

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