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County Executive candidates continue pitches to voters

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County Executive Forum Bnai Israel Mens Club 613County Executive candidates speak during forum at B’nai Israel Congregation. PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVROCKVILLE — As the June 26 primary election for County Executive approaches, candidates continued to lay out their platforms in front of voters at the B’nai Israel Congregation last Wednesday.

Hosted by the B’nai Israel Men’s Club, the candidates received questions on immigration, transportation, and economic development from Jonathan Salant, a journalist for The Star-Ledger, a New Jersey-based newspaper.

The forum featured current Council members Marc Elrich, George Leventhal (both at-large), Roger Berliner (District 1), former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow, Del. Bill Frick (District 16), businessman David Blair – all vying for the Democratic nomination – and lone Republican Robin Ficker.

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County Executive candidates lay out housing agendas

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County Executive Candidates 1County Executive candidates talk housing issues PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVKENSINGTON — With just weeks until the June 26 primary election, five candidates vying to succeed the term-limited Isiah Leggett as the next County Executive explained their agendas on housing issues to voters at a forum Thursday evening.

While expressing commitment to the County’s housing needs, the candidates outlined differing approaches to issues such as land use, public housing, and rent regulation.

“This consistently never seems one of the top issues in the County of great concern, but that’s because the people that most need it are not the people most involved in our political process,” said current Montgomery County Planning Department deputy director Rose Krasnow as she opened the event.

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County Executive race sees its first attack ad

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A clip from the ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair.  COURTESY PHOTOA clip from an ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — As the primary approaches, democrats running for County Executive continue to try and jockey for position attempting to appeal to local voters and to be gain attention, one candidate ran the first “attack ad” against an opponent.

Recently, County Council member and candidate for County Executive Roger Berliner (D-1) released an ad attacking one of his opponents, businessman David Blair, with the narrator in the ad saying Blair is a “another rich guy with zero experience, spending his millions to buy this election,” with a black-and-white photo of Blair morphing into a photo of Donald Trump.

But when a new resident to the County asked Berliner at a forum in Bethesda about who was most progressive and who was most conservative among the candidates, Berliner decided to answer the question by giving positive aspects of each candidate – including Blair.

“David Blair has been a successful businessman,” Berliner told the forum, running through the accomplishments of each one of his Democratic opponents.

This is one of the first ads in the County Executive race to directly attack another opponent.

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Up-County issues take center stage in Darnestown debate

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DARNESTOWN — With the June 26 primary closing in, candidates for County Executive continued their campaign tour to the up-County, this time making their pitch to voters in Darnestown.

While most of the County Executive forums have featured only the Democratic candidates running for office, the forum hosted by the Darnestown Civic Association included the County’s sole Republican candidate – Robin Ficker – as five of the candidates squared off to woo voters in one of the more rural parts of Montgomery County.

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County Executive candidates make pitch to local Jewish voters

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With about five weeks to go before the Democratic Primary on June 26, the six Democratic candidates for County Executive have made their pitch to a wide variety of voter interests and constituent groups as they each tried to set him or herself apart in the field.

On Monday, Jewish voters had their turn to listen to and weigh in on the debate as the six Democratic candidates for County Executive gathered for another forum, this time at Kol Shalom in Rockville. The issues ranged from the rise in hate crimes and security to the County’s economy, with the candidates rehashing debates and making attempts to appeal to Jewish voters.

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Women’s issues dominate latest County Executive Forum

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County Exec Forum Mar 22 2018County Executive Candidates square off in forum at the Silver Spring Civic Center PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREV

SILVER SPRING — With three months to go before the June 26 primary, the six candidates had another chance in front of a crowd of 300 people at the Silver Spring Civic Center to clarify why they should replace the term-limited County Executive Isiah Leggett as the occupant of the highest office in Montgomery County.

Former Rockville mayor Rose Krasnow, local businessman David Blair, Del. Bill Frick, County Council members Roger Berliner, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich each made his or her case.

Krasnow explained why voters should choose her for County Executive

“I have a track record of getting things done,” said Krasnow – the only woman in the race – in response to a question from Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “I do have governmental executive experience … and I learned when I went from being on the City Council of Rockville to mayor that it is very different being in that executive position.”

While there wasn’t much daylight between the candidates on most issues at the forum, which was hosted by the Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County, some indicated they had disagreements on some financial matters and on reforming the County’s liquor retail monopoly.

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Another day and another executive debate

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SILVER SPRING — In what has become a weekly ritual as the June primary draws closer, five of the Democratic candidates running for County Executive gathered at the Silver Spring Civic Center for yet another candidate forum.

The Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery County hosted the forum, which was moderated by WAMU reporter Armando Trull. Appropriately enough, the discussion revolved mostly around issues important to the County’s largest Latino population. Candidates in attendance included Council members Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow and businessman David Blair. Delegate Bill Frick was the lone candidate to not attend, as he was in Annapolis fulfilling his duties as a state delegate.

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County Executive candidates square off again

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SILVER SPRING — If any of the 300 spectators who arrived at the Northwood High School gymnasium for Sunday’s County Executive candidate forum hoped one of the candidates in attendance would distinguish themselves from the crowded field, they probably left the three-hour event disappointed. 

Seven candidates are vying to replace Democrat Isiah Leggett as County Executive, who became term-limited in 2016 after voters approved a ballot initiative championed by attorney, activist and perennial candidate Robin Ficker, the sole Republican in this year’s race.

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Elrich and Berliner square off over public financing

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Ehrlich BerlinerCounty Council members Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and Roger Berliner (D-1). COURTESY PHOTO  The new public finance laws in Montgomery County are leading to a war of words between two current council members running for County Executive.

Marc Elrich, (D-At-Large) is using public financing and claims Roger Berliner (D-1), who isn’t using public financing, is part of the problem with politics.

In the first required finance report of the 2018 campaign season, Berliner reports that real estate development businesses, and individuals associated with those firms, contributed approximately $266,000 - nearly half - of the funds his campaign raised from Jan. 10, 2017 to Jan. 10, 2018, according to the State Board of Elections.

These groups include local residential and commercial real estate developers, building contractors and financial investment firms associated with real estate.

“The business community is obviously a significant stakeholder in our county, and I’m proud to have the business community’s support,” Berliner said. “I’m proud that the business community believes that I am the best candidate to lead our county to a more prosperous future.”

“This is why we need public financing,” Elrich said. “The whole point behind public financing is to take special interests out of elections like this. In Montgomery County there’s never been a bigger special interest than real estate development. There is no rival to the real estate development industry. What they look for is people who will minimize the impact on them of the cost of doing business in Montgomery County. Clearly Roger is heavily dependent on them for money.”

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