In a post a little over two weeks ago, I gave an overview of the race for the four at-large Montgomery County Council seats with a focus on the two safer incumbents, Marc Elrich and Nancy Floreen. Today, I take a look at one of the two other incumbents: George Leventhal.
George’s problems remain similar to four years ago when he came in fourth. They are not particularly issue related. Yes, he’s in the soup with the government employee unions but that places him in good company with the entire Council.
In general, George has married successfully popular progressive positions on many issues, such as an increase in the minimum wage, with unflinching support for developers, viewing strong economic growth as benefiting the County’s tax base and working people more generally.
George is a smart and active councilmember. However, he just doesn’t brook disagreement well, and is perceived as quick to anger and express disdain. Most recently, he publicly berated CASA after it did not endorse him. He is also perceived as not especially sympathetic to the western half of the County.
But I don’t know that this is a critical problem. First, George is also rumored to be funny and charming at times in a way that is as genuine as his less pleasant moments. His amusing Facebook posts about why you should get one of his yard signs attest to that.
Second, any resentment generated within the echo chamber of Montgomery’s political chattering classes only matters if it costs him too many supporters. While it weakens George, I don’t think he has become as politically toxic as Duchy Trachtenberg four years ago. Even if George creates unnecessary enemies and makes it harder to repair disagreement, he also unquestionably has strong advocates.
In short, while George may be vulnerable, he is also in good shape in many ways, including well-funded.
Next up: Hans Riemer.