Forty-five minutes after eight members of the county council released a statement opposing the property tax hike contained in County Executive Marc Elrich’s recommended budget, the executive has released a statement defending it. We reprint it below.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Statement on Release of his Recommended Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget
As required by the County Charter, I submitted my annual
budget to the County Council earlier today. My staff and I have been working on
this budget for more than six months. During that time, we received budget
requests from the community, the school system, our departments and Councilmembers
that help to shape this budget proposal. The three-cent increase is a special
tax that is specifically designed for education and would help to fund the
budget request from Montgomery County Public Schools.
At the time that we were developing this budget, COVID-19
was not on the horizon and now, during these unique and difficult times, we
have to factor in its impact. I stand by the need for us to increase our
investment in education, but I understand the unique situation that we are
currently in. We have all known from the beginning that funding the school
system’s request could not be funded within anticipated revenues and, as we
have been working at the State level to increase school funding through the
Build Act and Kirwan, I believe that we should make the additional investment
in schools that they need today, even if it required a special tax increase
dedicated to the schools.
I combined this proposed three-cent special schools tax
increase with a $108 increase in the County’s property tax credit so that a
homeowner with a $500,000 home would see about a $42 annual tax increase—the
three cents would raise the taxes by $150, but combined with the County
property tax, the net increase is $42. A one million dollar home would have a
net $192 per year increase.
As in every budget cycle, I have informed the Council
that I will work with it to find ways to deal with the budget.
Dealing with today’s emergency situation and having a
long overdue community conversation about the future we want to build for our
County will be a challenge in coming weeks.
The challenges we face in areas such as education, economic development
and transportation will still be there long after this crisis is over and we
can’t take our eyes off the future no matter how hard those decisions will be.
I know that in today’s context it is hard to determine what the future looks
like, but we will balance addressing our present situation with planning for
the future of this County. And we will do it together.
Soon after receiving Elrich’s budget, the entire county council except for Council Member Tom Hucker released a statement opposing the tax hike. Their statement is reprinted below.
Statement by Montgomery County Council President Katz and Councilmembers Albornoz, Friedson, Glass, Jawando, Navarro, Rice and Riemer on the County Executive’s Fiscal Year 2021 $5.9 Billion Operating Budget Recommendation
ROCKVILLE, Md., March 16, 2020—Montgomery County Council
President Sidney Katz and Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Andrew Friedson, Evan
Glass, Will Jawando, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer, made the
following statement on County Executive Marc Elrich’s proposed 3.18 cent property
tax increase in the fiscal year 2021 Recommended Operating Budget:
“Our focus in the midst of an unprecedented health
emergency must be on bringing together businesses and residents, nonprofits and
government to address the immediate crisis we face. We also must provide as
much certainty and support as we can for county residents who understandably
fear what the economic realities of this global pandemic will have on their jobs,
retirement savings, small businesses and families.
This is a time for cautious decision-making, not property
tax increases. We look forward to working with the County Executive to address
the initiatives in his budget recommendations.”
County Executive Marc Elrich and his biggest critic, Council Member Hans Riemer, are feuding once again. This time, the subject is affordable housing. Elrich says his new recommended capital budget includes a record sum for affordable housing. Riemer says there are in fact no new resources.
Who is right?
Let’s consider the statements from each of them. First, here is Elrich.
Affordable housing is one of my top priorities. It is vital to our County’s future success. We must maintain and expand our stock of affordable housing and we are taking this critical issue head on in the capital budget. That is why I am recommending we add $132 million for affordable housing to the capital budget over the next six years.
This is a record level of funding for affordable housing projects for our capital budget. These funds will be used by the Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation Project to facilitate efforts to preserve existing stock and increase the number of affordable housing units in the County. But that is not all.
In this Capital budget, I am proposing a new Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund to leverage funding from other partners that will support short-term financing while affordable housing developers arrange for permanent project financing.
On affordable housing, I was initially encouraged by the Executive’s speech about increasing funding levels. Indeed, I am intrigued by his proposal to create a new housing preservation fund. However, while he claims to have added more than $132 million in the affordable housing fund, after further examination it became clear that the annual amount is unchanged at $22 million. Under the last Executive, affordable housing funding was only programmed for the first two years of the six year budget, but additional funding was always added in the subsequent years. We need to increase our affordable housing fund to at least $100 million annually. This change in accounting will not result in increased resources. In combination with his resistance to the Council’s affordable housing goals, developed with and agreed upon by all the local governments in Washington region, the County Executive’s housing policy continues to be a matter of serious concern.
These two like each other about as much as Popeye and
Bluto. (Which one is Popeye depends on
your point of view!) But how can their
statements be reconciled?
Since Fiscal Year 2001, the county’s primary affordable housing vehicle has been its Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation program, which appears in the county’s capital budget. The program enables the county to buy or renovate, or assist other entities to buy or renovate, affordable housing. It is financed by several sources including but not limited to loan repayments and the county’s Housing Investment Fund (which is mostly supported by recordation taxes).
The capital budget, which includes the Affordable Housing
Acquisition and Preservation program, is a six-year budget. In even years (like 2020), it is written anew
and in odd years, it is amended.
Projects in the capital budget can have up to six different years of
funding in them (with more scheduled outside of the budget’s six year
horizon). In the past, the affordable
housing program has only shown funding for the first two years of the capital
budget with zero money programmed in the last four years. But since the capital budget is rewritten
every two years with affordable housing money renewed in each successive
budget, that has not mattered.
The table below shows funding for the Affordable Housing
Acquisition and Preservation program in the last 16 capital budgets. Each budget covers six years. Budgets labeled with an “A” are amended
budgets programmed in off years.
At first glance, Elrich appears to be right. His new recommended capital budget includes
$132 million for Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation, which is far
higher than any previous capital budget.
But let’s remember what Riemer said about the annual amount of
spending. All the previous six-year
budgets included funding during the first two years only. Elrich’s new capital budget shows funding for
the Affordable Housing Acquisition and Preservation program in all six
years. Riemer is correct: an accounting
change caused the apparent increase in this program.
But the story doesn’t end there. Elrich created a new program in the capital budget called the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund. This program is dedicated to acquiring affordable housing in areas at risk of rent escalation, such as those near the Purple Line and other transit corridors, and is intended to use public funds to leverage private funds in acquiring and preserving affordable housing. This new program provides $10 million in each of the new capital budget’s first two years for this purpose. That money comes from recordation tax premiums which are normally used to finance transportation projects, so it’s not “free” money. But it is more money for affordable housing.
Combining the existing Affordable Housing Acquisition and
Preservation program and Elrich’s new Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund, the
table below shows the annual expenditures for affordable housing in the capital
budget since FY05. Annual expenditures
are drawn from the first two years of every amended capital budget with FY21
and FY22 drawn from the executive’s new recommended capital budget.
Combining the two programs, Elrich recommends spending
more capital money for affordable housing in FY21 and FY22 than any annual
expenditure in the preceding published budgets.
When adjusting for inflation, Elrich’s FY21 and FY22 spending amounts
are roughly equal to the Leggett administration’s peak affordable housing years
of FY09 and FY10, so one can quibble about whether Elrich’s spending is truly a
record. But when Elrich’s new Affordable
Housing Opportunity Fund is included, the first two years of his new budget
definitely show an annual increase for affordable housing over the prior
The county’s capital budget has been shrinking due to cutbacks in general obligation bond issuances and declining projected school impact tax receipts. That’s a dire subject for another time. But given the county’s budget difficulties, Elrich’s financial commitment to affordable housing is meaningful. Friends and foes alike should give him credit for it.
Regular readers know my views on the administration of
County Executive Marc Elrich by now, but let’s turn to an equally important
entity: the Montgomery County Council. The county’s charter gives the council
enormous powers, especially over land use, legislation and the budget, and its
decisions are at least as important to the county’s direction as the activities
of the executive.
The current council has four freshmen, the most at any
one time since the council of 2006-2010. The freshmen include a former county
department head, a former senior state government official, a former Obama
White House official and one of the county’s most seasoned civic activists, so
they came well-prepared to serve. In fact, they have become so ensconced at the
council that they don’t seem like true freshmen any more. Overall, while the
council has some internal rivalries that occasionally can be seen, it has been
devoid of the open infighting that plagued many prior councils. Like them or
not, they have mostly stuck together during the trials of governing.
The council’s portfolio is vast and it has made dozens of
decisions in its first year. In my view, eight consequential events rise above
the others. The council’s performance on these events is the determinant of its
overall grade, which appears at the end. Let’s get to it.
Mid-year savings plan (January)
The new council members had hardly adjusted their dais seats when they were confronted with a $41 million budget hole, prompting a mid-year savings plan from the executive. The council – and especially the new members – could have complained, delayed and otherwise squirmed. But instead they got down to business and made the cuts in short order.
Accessory dwelling unit legislation (January through July)
Council Member Hans Riemer’s zoning text amendment to liberalize county restrictions on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) provoked fierce opposition from Elrich and some civic activists. In other years, the legislation would have been either killed or watered down into oblivion. But this time, the council tweaked it and passed it unanimously. The legislation probably won’t result in huge waves of new ADUs, but the council took an important stand on the need to build more affordable units. The issue of affordable housing will come back over and over again during this term.
Public safety communications project (May through July)
After the retirement of long-time police chief Tom Manger, Elrich nominated former Portsmouth police chief Tonya Chapman to succeed him. Chapman had more baggage than an airport terminal. Once the council made clear that Chapman did not have the votes for confirmation, the administration considered another nominee who had a pension benefit issue that probably required a legislative fix. That nominee did not fly either, so Elrich ultimately nominated an acceptable choice to many on the council, acting chief Marcus Jones, whom Elrich had previously rejected. This was truly historic stuff. Never before has any council imposed its will like this on an executive to ensure a high caliber nomination for one of the county’s most important positions.
Fox subsidy (November)
I have written about this again and again. It could take a while, but this decision is going to come back to haunt the council.
Setting aside OPEB and corporate welfare for Fox, the council’s record is pretty decent on a number of issues. And the council was magnificent in forcing Elrich to hire a competent police chief. Year two should be more challenging, especially if the county’s lackluster economic performance forces tough choices on the budget.
There is much condemnation of Council Member Nancy Floreen among Democratic activists for leaving the party and launching an independent run for Executive. Some of the outrage is related to party loyalty. Some of it is related to support for the apparent Democratic primary winner, Marc Elrich. And some of it is related to Floreen’s record in office and historic support by the business community. Those are all value judgments best left to the readers. But one concern can actually be evaluated with data – the notion that a Floreen candidacy could enable GOP candidate Robin Ficker to come up the middle and squeak out a victory. Could that actually happen?
Ficker, who has a long and infamous history in the county, has been running for office since the 1970s. He was actually elected to a District 15 House of Delegates seat in 1978, a decision reversed by the voters four years later. Since then, he has run for offices of all kinds and placed numerous charter amendments on the ballot. Two of his charter amendments – a property tax limitation measure in 2008 and a term limits measure in 2016 – were passed by county voters.
First, let’s look at Ficker’s electoral history since the 1990s. He has run ten times and lost on every occasion. In every race, he has been a Republican except for 2006, when he ran as an independent for County Executive. (Twelve years later, that’s what Nancy Floreen is doing.)
Besides all the losing, the thing that stands out here is Ficker’s unpopularity in the Republican Party. He has entered six contested GOP primaries since 1994 and lost five of them. The only time he had opposition and won was when he ran in the 2009 County Council District 4 special election and defeated two no-name Republicans who barely campaigned. The lesson here is that when Republicans have an alternative to Ficker who is not a Democrat, they tend to vote for someone else.
Even Republicans are reluctant to buy what Ficker is selling. Photo credit: Getty Images, John W. McDonough.
When he did make it to general elections, Ficker earned vote percentages ranging from 34% to 41%. But most of those elections occurred in Upcounty districts where Republicans are a much larger percentage of the electorate than the county as a whole.
Now let’s look at the performances of GOP candidates for County Executive over the last five general elections.
One of the untold stories in MoCo elections is the recent decline in electoral performance by Democratic nominees in MoCo Executive general elections. From 1998 through 2006, the Republican nominee did not crack 30%. In the last two elections, the Republican got 34% of the vote. For the most part, these were protest votes as the Republican candidates had no money, did not campaign and were not expected by anyone to win. Another thing to note is that the only one of these elections that had an independent candidate was 2006, when Ficker ran against Ike Leggett and GOP nominee Chuck Floyd. Ficker got just 9% of the vote, another sign of his unpopularity with both Republicans and independents.
Finally, let’s consider turnout by party in MoCo mid-term general elections.
Over the years, Democratic turnout percentage has edged up gradually, independent turnout has increased and Republican turnout has collapsed. At some point, it’s reasonable to expect that independent turnout might exceed the GOP.
For Ficker to win, he would need to hold onto all the GOP votes, win more than 70% of independents and have Floreen and Elrich split everyone else exactly down the middle. That would result in Ficker getting 34% of the vote and Floreen and Elrich each getting 33%. That’s extremely unlikely for two reasons. First, as detailed above, Ficker is weak among GOP voters and Republicans and independents would have a viable alternative in Floreen. Second, for this scenario to work, almost half of all Democrats would have to vote against their own party’s nominee to keep Elrich at 33%. It’s easier to see a path to victory for Floreen, who could win by getting half the Republicans, all the independents and roughly 28% of the Democrats.
Just to be clear, we are skeptical that anyone can defeat a Democratic nominee in a MoCo countywide election. But whatever the ramifications of a possible Floreen independent run, we’re pretty sure that one of them will not be a victory by Robin Ficker.
Lots of attention has been paid to who will win the MoCo Democratic Primary for Executive. At this point, it appears to be Council Member Marc Elrich. But much less attention has been paid to something equally important: the voice of the voters. In this primary, MoCo Democrats spoke out loud and clear about their preferred directions for the future of the county.
The Executive race is like no other in MoCo. The office may not be as powerful as the County Council on paper, but its holder is THE leader and spokesman for the county and sets the tone and direction of the county going forward. Voters understand that. And they scrutinize the message and vision of the Executive candidates to a much greater extent than others running for local office.
In this primary, there were six candidates for Executive. Each had enough resources to be heard. And as a group, they sent three kinds of messages to the voters. By choosing between these three messages, the voters indicated their preferred directions for the county’s future.
Status Quo (23% of the vote)
Council Members Roger Berliner and George Leventhal ran on their records in office and argued that they merited a promotion to Executive. Berliner and Leventhal were arguably the two most effective legislators on the County Council. Both showed substantial skill at passing a large variety of bills, including difficult ones like Berliner’s bill to protect street trees and Leventhal’s bill to prevent unilateral sales of county property by the Executive. The two served a combined twenty-four years as committee chairs and each was elected Council President twice. Their records were not just their own, but were also essentially those of the council itself. Boiled down to its basic nature, their message was, “I’m an experienced leader and you can count on me to continue the county’s success.”
Berliner and Leventhal ran on their records as Council Members in their mail.
In many years, this kind of strategy would have worked. MoCo Democrats tend to respect effective elected service. But this was not one of those years as Berliner and Leventhal combined to get 23% of the vote. More than three-quarters of Democrats opted for change of one kind or another.
Progressive Plus Anti-Developer Direction (29% of the vote)
Despite being in elected office continuously for 31 years, Council Member Marc Elrich ran as a change candidate. He argued that the county needed a more progressive social justice direction that would help renters, vulnerable people and those living in and close to poverty. He was especially focused on closing the achievement gap in public schools and instituting the most progressive environmental standards in the nation. At the same time, he lambasted developers as “the special interest with too much influence over the government” and vowed to “hold developers accountable for providing the resources necessary to maintain our quality of life.”
Elrich’s comments about developers on his website and in email are in line with the message he has used for decades.
This wasn’t just Elrich’s campaign; almost the entire progressive movement in MoCo lined up behind him and did everything they could to get him elected. The result was 29% of the vote.
Competitive Direction (48% of the vote)
The three non-Council Members – businessman David Blair, former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow and Delegate Bill Frick – had very different biographies but they had similar campaign messages, especially on the economy. All three agreed that the county’s economic competitiveness is slipping and must be restored to fund the kinds of progressive priorities favored by all the candidates, and most of the voters.
Blair, Krasnow and Frick made economic competitiveness the focus of their campaigns in their mail and websites.
Blair, Krasnow and Frick combined to receive 48% of the vote with essentially the same message on the economy. The Executive election revealed that the group of voters wanting economic competitiveness and tax restraint is the largest faction in the county’s Democratic Party. The competitive direction candidates did not win because there were too many of them and they split up each other’s support, allowing Elrich to squeak in by 80 votes.
Combine the competitive direction Democrats with the roughly 40% of registered voters who are unaffiliated or Republicans and you get 70% of the general electorate – the exact percentage who voted for term limits. These numbers are not a coincidence.
The Executive election is not quite finished yet. Council Member Nancy Floreen is trying to get on the ballot as an independent, which we believe is an uphill battle, and a general election awaits. But through their votes on candidate messages, MoCo Democrats have spoken about where they would like the county to go. Elected officials would be wise to heed them.
The Washington Post has published an editorial branding Council Member Marc Elrich, who is currently leading in the Democratic primary for Executive, as “an outlier who proudly positioned himself on the ideological extreme left” and “the most insistently anti-business and anti-development member of the Montgomery County Council for more than a decade.” Those who are interested in the Post’s opinion can read it here.
With early votes and election day votes counted, Marc Elrich leads David Blair by 452 votes to win the Democratic County Executive nomination. This would be a close margin in a House of Delegates race but it’s incredibly close for a county-wide race. The final outcome will now be decided by absentee and provisional ballots. Does Blair have a chance or will Elrich hold on to win?
According to Bethesda Magazine, the county’s Board of Elections received 4,900 Democratic absentee ballots as of Monday. In addition, 3,614 provisional ballots were cast but that total includes all parties. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that 2,500 of those provisional ballots came from Democrats. If there are only 5,000 Democratic absentee ballots received, that is 7,500 outstanding votes. A higher end assumption would be that 7,500 Democratic absentee ballots come in, resulting in 10,000 outstanding votes.
Let’s do a math exercise on the final outcome of the absentee and provisional votes. In the first scenario, let’s assume that the percentages of three categories – Blair’s percentage, Elrich’s percentage and the percentage of all the other candidates – exactly match the shares recorded during early and election day voting. In this scenario, Elrich picks up between 30 and 40 votes more than Blair and he would win.
Now let’s do a scenario in which Blair wins. Since Blair and Elrich are the top two and no one else is even close, it’s the margin between them that will determine the victor. In this second scenario, we will hold the percentage of all the other candidates constant and merely adjust the totals for Blair and Elrich. Adding 3.3 points to Blair and subtracting 3.3 points from Elrich produces a net gain for Blair of 465 votes in a 7,500 vote universe, enough to win. That margin would go up to 620 votes in a 10,000 vote universe. But note that this scenario requires Blair to lead Elrich by 6.2 points among these groups, a very different result than Elrich’s 0.4 point lead in early and election day votes.
We adjusted the percentage for the other candidates up and down and didn’t find much change in the margin Blair needs, which is more than six points over Elrich. Again, this is a departure from the cumulative early vote and election day totals.
Marc Elrich’s blast email below summarizes his message and rallies his troops for the final hours of the campaign.
Your help in the next 80 hours will be critical
I’m running for County Executive because we have an important choice in this election. On one side are developers and their allies, who have long had too much influence in county government (I’m the only County Councilmember, and only County Executive candidate, to never take their campaign money). They’re spreading misinformation and opposing my candidacy because they know I’ll make them pay their fair share for schools, transit, and green space.
On the other side are teachers, nurses, firefighters, environmentalists, labor unions, progressives, and twenty other organizations who have endorsed me because they know I’ll always stand with you. I would be honored to have your support as well.
With a little less than three days left before polls open on election day, my campaign is working around the clock and could use your help with the items below. Whether you can give money or time, anything you can do could be the difference between a win and a loss. Here’s what we need:
1) Donations. $2,945 in small donations this weekend is what we need to finish this election strong. If you haven’t given the $150 individual maximum yet, please contribute now. If you have already given the $150 maximum, please ask a family member or friend to contribute.
2) Volunteers. If you can door knock, phone bank, staff a polling location, or drive materials to people who need it, please let us know.
3) An Appeal. Your neighbors and colleagues trust you more than anyone – please send them an email or put out a message on social media letting them know why you’re voting for me and asking them to do so, too.
I also hope you’ll join me at the Barking Dog to watch the election results come in on Tuesday night. With your help, I think we’ll have a lot to celebrate.
MoCo Democrats are not monolithic. There are several segments of them. There are the 40,000 or so Super Democrats, the ones who vote in every mid-term primary. Then there are the sixty percent of MoCo Dems who are women. There are the voters who live in the Democratic Crescent – the area from Takoma Park over to Bethesda and Cabin John – who disproportionately turn out to vote. And of course there are people over age 60, who account for a majority of regular voters. Candidates are aware of all of these groups and target their communications to them. But there’s one group – potentially a big one – which few people are talking about.
Term limits voters.
In the 2016 general election, 70% of voters approved term limits. We know that a majority of the Democrats who voted in that election supported term limits because of simple mathematics. In that election, 62% of the voters were Democrats. If all 38% of the voters who were Republicans, third party members or independents voted yes, then the other 32% must have come from the Dems. Divide 32% by 62% and you get 52% of Dems voting for term limits. If a few of the non-Dems voted no, the Dem percentage goes up.
The other thing we know about term limits voters is where they live. Every part of the county voted for term limits except Takoma Park. In most Downcounty areas, term limits support ranged from 60% to 70%. Upcounty areas were more supportive with term limits getting 80% or more of the vote in Clarksburg, Damascus, Derwood, Laytonsville, North Potomac and Poolesville. Upcounty areas have greater concentrations of Republicans than elsewhere. We ran a correlation coefficient between Republican voter percentage and term limits vote percentage at the precinct level and it worked out to 0.6 – meaning that partisan status was associated with most, but not all, of term limits variability. In other words, other things were at work too.
That’s about all we know about term limits voters from public data. There’s a whole lot we don’t know, including:
How many people who voted for term limits in that general election are going to be voting in this mid-term primary?
We have said it before and we willsay it again: MoCo Dem primary voters are not the same people as MoCo general election voters. Just because a majority of presidential general election Dems voted for term limits does not mean that a majority of this year’s mid-term primary Dems will have voted for them. In fact, we bet it will be a lot less purely because the 40,000 or so Super Dems will be somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of this year’s electorate and we are skeptical that they disproportionately voted for term limits. That said, the number of term limits voters this year won’t be zero – they are definitely out there. Even if you split the difference and assume that a quarter of this year’s Dem primary voters supported term limits, that’s a big enough chunk to swing an election.
Why did people vote for term limits?
This is another question to which there is no answer outside of polling. We tend to agree with former Council Member Steve Silverman, who told Bethesda Magazine, “It was a combination of interests that created the perfect storm that led to the passage of term limits.” In other words, there were many factors that drove those votes: anger with the nine percent property tax hike, concerns over land use, unhappiness with traffic and cost of living or maybe a simple desire for change, however nebulous that might be. While we believe that the Dem primary electorate is indeed different from the general electorate of two years ago, we don’t believe those concerns have gone away.
Who will they support this time?
That’s an easier question. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to interpret the vote for term limits as anything other than a call for change of some kind. The current Democratic field for Executive contains three term-limited Council Members and three people who are not term-limited Council Members. That’s a little simplistic – Marc Elrich is running as a progressive change candidate despite his 31-year history of elected office. But since Takoma Park is Elrich’s home base and that is the only area in the county which voted against term limits, we are hesitant to believe that many term limits supporters are Elrich voters. Rather, we believe they will lean to the three outsiders – Delegate Bill Frick (D-16), former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow and businessman David Blair. And of those three, Blair has by far the most resources with which to communicate with them.
Speaking of Blair, we found his recent exchange with Washington Post reporter Jennifer Barrios fascinating.
When asked about his political base, David Blair considers the question then poses one of his own.
“My political base,” he says after a pause. “So does that mean who’s going to come out and support me?”…
“The people that tend to gravitate to me are the ones that believe Montgomery County is a great place to live but we’re slipping,” Blair said. “And there’s a level of frustration, and it could be related to transportation, schools, social services and this — why can’t a county with this level of wealth pay for the services that we need? — and a recognition that a healthy community needs a vibrant, growing business community.”
Those people sound like term limits voters and they have the makings of a political base. Marc Elrich knows exactly who his base is: progressives, development opponents and people who live in and around Takoma Park. Elrich’s messaging smartly concentrates on those voter segments. His troops’ ability to get out those votes is a major reason why he might be the next Executive.
Term limits voters won’t be a majority of the Democratic mid-term primary electorate. But they might be large enough in numbers to rival the size of Elrich’s base. If Blair can organize them – and if there are enough of them – we might be staying up late on election night.