Businessman David Blair became the sixth candidate to announce for county executive. However, beyond a willingness to open up his wallet (more on campaign finance below), there is little evidence that he is ready to run. Right now, this tech entrepreneur has no campaign website. (Correction: He does! It just doesn’t show up in the top Google searches yet.)
You May Have Questions. Does Blair Have Answers?
While it can be refreshing to see a politician who doesn’t claim to have all the answers, David Blair takes it a bit far. Based on his interview with Bethesda Beat’s Andrew Metcalf, he is neither ready nor willing to answer questions:
Asked if he’s always been a registered Democrat, Blair responded, “I believe so. I believe that’s a true statement.”
However, Maryland Board of Elections voter information indicates Blair was a registered Republican before he switched his registration to the Democratic Party in 2003.
Asked about that, Blair responded, “I don’t remember that. That could be accurate. … That could be.”
Blair refused to answer a question about taxes:
He declined to take a position on the County Council’s decision last year to raise property and recordation taxes.
“There will be a lot of opportunities to talk about specific policies,” Blair said.
And this was one of them.
He did seem ready with the political pablum:
“One of the ways to generate new revenue is through business,” Blair said. “We need more jobs here.”
“I have a vision to take Montgomery County to the next level.”
If Blair wants to enter the political arena, that’s great. But he needs to be ready to talk about issues when asked about them. I look forward not only to hearing more specifics but also more openness and willingness to answer questions from journalists and voters.
No on Public Financing. Will Empower Montgomery Launch an IE Campaign?
Unsurprisingly for someone from a very wealthy family, Blair said he will not participate in the public financing system. Bobby Lipman of MoCoVoters.org has already dinged him for this in the comments section of the Bethesda Beat article.
But why on earth would Blair want to waste his time asking people for small checks? Why would people want to give them to him? Why would he want to limit his spending when facing several better-known candidates?
More interesting from a campaign finance perspective is his decision to distance himself from Empower Montgomery:
When told he has been publicly referred to as a co-founder of the group, Blair said he contributed money.
“I would not consider myself a co-founder of that group, no,” Blair said.
Empower Montgomery’s website lists him as one of the founders of the group. . .
Empower Montgomery has now removed his name as one of the founders of the group.
If this pro-business group is planning an independent expenditure (IE) campaign on his behalf, Blair would not want to look like he is helping to direct it, as independent expenditures have to be independent to avoid legal troubles. And Empower Montgomery clearly plans to be active:
We are set up as a non-profit, tax exempt organization in Maryland, which allows us to perform a wide range of public education and advocacy activities and even participate in elections when key issues get elevated in the voter’s mindset.