In Lane 4: Decision Time for Tom Hucker

County Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-5) has filed to run for county executive. Today he has to decide whether to stick with that chancy race or file for reelection. Positioning himself as a strong progressive, Hucker was first elected to the Council in 2014 after narrowly defeating now-at large Councilmember Evan Glass in the Democratic primary.

The campaign’s January campaign finance report showed that he had $252,533.09 in bank. To my surprise, googling “Tom Hucker County Executive” did not produce a campaign website, so here is his twitter account. (Thanks to a reader; it’s On the plus side, he represents the one-fifth of the county with the most Democratic primary voters.

Hucker’s run for county executive has nevertheless always struck me as quixotic because I don’t really see a lane for him. His core argument is essentially that he’d be a more effective leader than Elrich, which is unclear and exactly what the other candidates claim.

Two candidates are competing for the same base. The major policy difference I see is that Hucker is ardently pro-Thrive, the proposed general plan for the next 30 years, which alienates a good section of Elrich’s supporters. I imagine Hucker would contend that this makes him more progressive while others would say it aligns him with big business against ordinary residents of the county.

Elrich’s supporters may also not appreciate his efforts to set himself up for the run by taking potshots on the administration while serving for a year as Council President. Meanwhile, Hans Riemer seems to have the ardent urbanist vote, such as it is, nailed down. Hucker doesn’t have pots of money like David Blair and is not going to win business support.

Hucker also lacks the identity constituency around which so many Democrats align. While not a bad politician, he also doesn’t have the sort of charisma that is getting Wes Moore a lot of positive attention in the gubernatorial race.

Unlike Councilmember Riemer, Hucker can still run for one more term on the county council before he runs up against term limits. At that point, the county executive’s race would be open. It’d still be a tough race but at least he’d have more of an open lane. Labor is sticking with Elrich, who has already been endorsed by MCEA and three SEIU locals. Progressive Maryland and Progressive Neighbors have too.

Several candidates have filed for Hucker’s redrawn district, including Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart Porter and Friends of White Flint Executive Director Amy Ginsburg. Hucker would still be the strong favorite. On the other hand, Hucker could also file for one of the at-large seats. Brandy Brooks’s campaign is tanking, so there is a real opening for a progressive candidate for the open seat.

Hucker has until 9:00pm to decide.