At-Large MoCo Council Race Pt. IV: Challengers

In past posts, I’ve reviewed the vulnerability of the four incumbents seeking reelection to the at-large county council seats (see here, here, and here). I’ve also live-tweeted one of their debates. Two challengers are running for the four at-large Montgomery County Council seats: Beth Daly and Vivian Malloy.

Vivian Malloy

My first time meeting both candidates was at the at-large forum. Vivian Malloy struck me as the kind of person to whom people respond well. Her focus on raising general concerns and problems might have left some wanting more specifics but also prevented getting bogged down in bureaucratic terms unintelligible to voters (think: maintenance of effort).

I learned from her web bio that she graduated from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and served 21 years in the Army Nurse Corps before retiring at the rank of Major. Malloy may be retired but has not stopped working. She is currently finishing her second term on the MCDCC.

Funding is a major challenge. At this point, Malloy has $11K cash on hand out of $33K raised. Without more funds, it is hard for Malloy to get her message out. Additionally, I believe that the lack of sufficient funds to run countywide in a this county over 1 million has made some groups more hesitant to support Malloy, though she has won support from CASA and AFL among others.

Beth Daly

Beth Daly is the one that has the incumbents running scared. She has raised $147,000 in funds and reported $99K cash on hand in her last report. Daly has lived in many different parts of Montgomery but currently resides in Upcounty, where she was active in the fight to preserve Ten Mile Creek.

Daly has a long involvement in politics, going back to her days as a media professional who won notice for her work on the 1992 Clinton-Gore advertising campaign. She was active in the PTA while raising her kids and more recently sat on the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board.

Daly’s politics are aligned with those popular second-term incumbent Marc Elrich. She speaks eloquently for residents who feel that the county government often ignores the maintenance of infrastructure and desires of residents who already live here in its haste to build the future.

A welter of endorsements adds credibility to Daly’s campaign. She has won support from Progressive Maryland, AFL-CIO, MoCo NOW, CASA, SEIU, FOP, MCGEO, and the Green Democrats among others. This support will provide not just support in terms of volunteers and money but help validate her as the progressive pro-labor, pro-neighbor alternative.

Her field campaign appears strong with meetings and efforts to build grassroots support occurring around the County. Signs don’t vote but I see more of them in people’s yards than for the other candidates in my neck of the woods.

An added advantage is that Daly seems unusually fluent on the issues facing the county for a challenger. Despite being critical, she also manages to come across as sunny optimist who wants to listen to people and still build the future but with the County’s residents–a message that has worked in the past.

Final Analysis

If anyone is going to take out an incumbent this cycle, it will be Beth Daly. Nevertheless, despite the above positive reviews, her election is far from assured. Daly’s labor support will engender opposition as well as support. The two most vulnerable incumbents, Hans Riemer and George Leventhal, remain strong candidates. Moreover, both inhabit the section of the County with the most Democratic voters. It is unclear if Democrats want to throw them out.

Still, this is one to watch on primary night.