Andrew Metcalf over at Bethesda Beat reported on Council Chair Hans Riemer’s response to a question on the successes of the two-year old county economic development nonprofit:
“OK, so what are the successes of the Economic Development Corp.?” Riemer said. “Um, I might need a little staff here. My economic development team is not here.”
After a brief pause, he continued, “They are a new organization, they are growing. They have helped us build consensus around economic development. They have helped engage the business community in a positive way. I think they have improved the dialogue.”
Riemer’s inability to come up with an answer only continues the building narrative that the county government is not doing enough to promote economic growth or address fiscal concerns. His flub also undercut his claim that the Sage report cherry-picked its data and the claims are politically motivated:
“In comes this attempt to overturn the apple cart and get everyone shooting at us again,” Riemer said.
Consider the cart not just overturned but run over by a truck.
Is Riemer in Danger? Probably Not
Despite hiccups likes these that can accompany that spotlight on the Council Chair and a wealth of candidates, Riemer looks to be on a solid path to a third term. He’s the only at-large member seeking reelection. After two terms, he has high recognition, which should be enormously helpful in a large county with so many candidates trying to get the electorate’s attention.
It also helps that most people, supporters or not, would agree that Hans is a nice guy. He has a deserved reputation for being willing to listen to a variety of viewpoints and responding respectfully. Naturally, decisions he has made leave some unhappy, but at least they feel heard.
In short, while his time as council chair has had its rough spots, it’s hard to see how Hans loses. No one is really pointing at Hans in way that could focus any anti-incumbency mood. There is little incentive to attack rivals in a multi-candidate race. Many Democrats are also far more angry at Republicans.