By Adam Pagnucco.
Part One of this series laid out the rules and methodology for how we determined MoCo’s most influential people. These lists were developed by adding together the nominations of 85 people who are themselves extremely knowledgeable and influential. Let’s see what they had to say!
9. Council Member Hans Riemer (At-Large) – 21 votes
Source: Executive candidate in waiting often speaks for the Council.
Source: Hans is definitely going after Marc Elrich, and has been for a long time. So he has been making bold plays and making change.
Source: ADUs, 5G, solar farms – it is what we are talking about. Also gearing up for run for CE means he is putting himself out there.
AP: So far, the leader of the resistance to County Executive Marc Elrich, especially on the issue of housing. He is taking fire from Elrich supporters and that might have given him pause in the past. But the 2020 version of Riemer has a harder edge than the guy I worked for years ago, and if he really does take on Elrich, he is going to need it.
8. State Senator Brian Feldman (D-15) – 23 votes
Source: A go-to sponsor on so many important measures.
Source: Quietly extremely effective.
Source: Strongest MoCo Senate voice we have.
AP: Smart, pragmatic, respected and has seen a lot in nearly two decades in office. We could use another couple dozen like him, but if all we get is one Brian Feldman, we’ll take him.
7. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen – 25 votes
Source: Able to quickly translate his House expertise in politics and policy to the Senate.
Source: Best Senator ever.
AP: CVH has been arguably MoCo’s most popular politician for nearly two decades. He may be in the U.S. Senate now but he can still tap into his old Downcounty base whenever he wants support for whatever he does in the future.
6. Comptroller Peter Franchot – 28 votes
Source: Wields a lot of power from the perch of the Board of Public Works.
Source: Perhaps the most adept politician in the state outside the Governor himself. He’s smartly begun cultivating support outside of his typical base of centrist whites, but his gubernatorial bid might nevertheless be reliant on enough room in his ideological lane.
Source: Love him or hate him, he has a big impact on Maryland with his Board of Public Works vote and bromance with the Governor.
AP: What politician can serve more than 30 years in office and still run as an outsider? Peter Franchot, that’s who! Franchot has built his brand on fiscal conservatism, fighting “the machine,” and crusading for underdogs on issues ranging from school air conditioners to expanding craft beer. His crack team, led by master strategist Len Foxwell, is the best in Annapolis.
5. State Senator Will Smith (D-20) – 31 votes
Source: It’s wonderful to have the Senate Judicial Proceedings gavel in progressive hands.
Source: Most visible sign of Annapolis’s ideological and demographic shifts, though perhaps won’t be in the Senate much longer.
Source: If the Governor is telling you to resign, you’re probably doing something right.
Source: No political star has risen faster.
AP: Think about how incredible this trajectory is. Will Smith gets elected to the House in 2014. He is appointed to the Senate in 2016. He becomes Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee this year. After getting blasted by Governor Larry Hogan over crime legislation, he gets a package of crime bills passed including some of the governor’s priorities just a couple weeks later. Now he is ranked as one of the most influential elected officials in Montgomery County and folks are talking about him as a potential statewide candidate. Few elected officials anywhere rise this fast.
Coming next: our earth-shattering Final Four!