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.


Democrats assail Governor Hogan in Sentinel debate

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From left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.  PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITHFrom left to right, Elizabeth Embry, Krishanti Vignarajah, Ben Jealous, Richard Madaleno, Alec Ross and Brandon Scott at the Sentinel Newspapers sponsored Democratic candidate debate Monday.         PHOTO BY GEORGE SMITH  ROCKVILLE — According to State Senator Richard Madaleno, Governor Larry Hogan’s popularity boils down to one thing; “He’s running on my record,” Madaleno said in a Democratic candidate debate sponsored by The Sentinel Newspapers Monday night.

Former NAACP CEO Ben Jealous, Madaleno (D-18), former U.S. State Department official Alec Ross and former Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama Krishanti Vignarajah all participated in the debate. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Baltimore businessman Jim Shea sent their running mates, prosecutor Elizabeth Embry and Baltimore City Council member Brandon Scott, respectively.

The debate, like most Democratic primary forums, began and ended with attempts at knocking Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) record on jobs, schools and lack of opposition to President Donald J. Trump.

“This thing you read about that ‘Maryland is open for business’ that is total and complete bullshit,” Ross said.


Sentinel Sponsors Candidate Debate

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the sentinel newspapers logoDemocratic candidates running for governor will have a chance to make their case to County voters on May 21, less than a month away from the primary, during a Sentinel hosted debate.

The Sentinel will host a Democratic gubernatorial candidate forum May 21 moderated by Sentinel Newspapers Executive Editor Brian J. Karem, at 7 p.m., at the Executive Office Building Auditorium at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville.

State Senator Richard Madaleno, former Senior Adviser at the State Department Alec Ross, activist and former aide to Michelle Obama; Krishanti Vignarajah, and Elizabeth Embry, former Baltimore mayoral candidate and running mate of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, and James Jones are all confirmed to attend.

Former President and CEO of the NAACP Ben Jealous, and civic leader and businessman Jim Shea have been invited, but have yet to confirm they will participate. Candidate Ralph Jaffe, declined an invention citing a schedule conflict with a religious observance.

The event is open to the public and is free. Space will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any questions can be sent ahead of time to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling the Montgomery County Sentinel at (301) 838-0788.



County Council candidates debate at Leisure World forum

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SILVER SPRING — Fourteen of the 33 Democrats hoping to come through the June 26 primary with a shot at the four at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council had yet another chance to break out from the pack Thursday during yet another candidate forum held at Leisure World, as candidates weighed on issues ranging from the County’s liquor control policy to affordable childcare using a rapid-fire format that kept them on their toes thanks to limited time for answers in order to accommodate all candidates running.

Sports talk radio producer and host Steve Solomon – who bills himself as a “tell-it-like-it-is” political outsider who can fix the “little things” – said he was offering honesty in lieu of government experience as his campaign pledge.


Council At-Large debate shows differences in Democrat candidates

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From left: Gabe Albornoz, Shruti Bhatnagar, Brandy Brooks, Hoan Dang, Lorna Phillips Forde, Danielle Meitiv and Hans Riemer. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIANFrom left: Gabe Albornoz, Shruti Bhatnagar, Brandy Brooks, Hoan Dang, Lorna Phillips Forde, Danielle Meitiv and Hans Riemer. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN  Key differences in governing styles began to emerge Wednesday at a Democratic debate held for seven of the 30 candidates running for four at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council.

The debate was the last in a series of four hosted by the County’s real estate and property management groups. The hosts included the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington and the Maryland Building Industry Association.

Three at-large seats and one district seat on the Council have opened up this year due to newly-imposed term limits. Council President Hans Riemer, an incumbent at-large member, is running for a third and final term on the Council.

Many of the questions asked during the debate related to taxes, fees, economic growth and business competition.

While all the candidates said they supported a 2016 recordation tax increase that helped pay for needed school construction projects, only one candidate in the group said she was open to reducing it.


County Executive candidates debate issues in Sentinel forum

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County Exec Candidate DebateFrom left to right: Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Executive Editor Brian Karem, George Levanthal and Bill Frick joined the Sentinel-hosted candidate forum to debate issues this week.     PHOTO BY MARK POETKERROCKVILLE — The four Democratic candidates running for Montgomery County Executive squared off in a debate Monday night to make their cases to County residents.

The debate, hosted by the Sentinel Newspapers, was an opportunity for the four men vying for the Democratic nomination for County Executive – Council members Marc Elrich (D-at large), George Leventhal (D-large), Roger Berliner (D-1) and Del. Bill Frick (D-16) – to separate themselves from one another.

New in this year’s election, is a campaign finance system. For those participating in it, the program limits donations to county executive candidates to $150 and matches a portion of donations with public money.

Debate moderator and Sentinel Newspapers Executive Editor Brian Karem asked the candidates if they took campaign contributions from developers.


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.


Sentinel Hosts Live Stream Debate Among Democrat Candidates for County Executive on Oct. 16

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MoCo LogoROCKVILLE -  The Montgomery County Sentinel will be hosting a live stream debate among the Democrat candidates for County Executive on Monday, Oct. 16, in the Council Hearing Room (third floor) in the County Council Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. 

Brian J. Karem, the executive editor for The Sentinel Newspapers, will moderate the event which is scheduled from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 


Council postpones Subdivision staging to mull details

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MoCo Logo

ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Council postponed Tuesday’s scheduled action on the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP) to iron out a few last details of the growth policy.

The SSP is meant to balance the growing population and the need for more development with adequate infrastructure including roads and schools.

On Nov. 15 the council will vote on the new SSP along with impact taxes for schools and roads.


And now for something completely different

Sarbanes  PlasterDistrict 3 candidates Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Dr. Mark Plaster (R). COURTESY PHOTOS  

I recently attended a debate between two candidates that focused almost entirely on issues rather than personalities. Clearly, this wasn't a 2016 presidential debate. Rather it was a debate between the Democratic and Republican candidates vying for the district 3 congressional seat, Democratic incumbent Congressman John Sarbanes and Republican challenger Dr. Mark Plaster.

The debate was conducted the evening of October 10th and was hosted by the Greater Olney Civic Association. Just because the debate focused on real issues, however, don't think it didn't also contain some quite familiar political rhetoric.

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