Tag Archives: Nancy Floreen

Evaluating Floreen’s Run

A Mason-Dixon poll done for outside groups at the end of September shed some light on why Councilmember Nancy Floreen’s independent campaign for county executive was ultimately unsuccessful.

Specifically, gender played far less of a role than people focused on it thought. She did little to split either the Democratic or Republican bases. Finally, her inability to take public financing didn’t hurt Floreen much. Reliance on developer money was a greater issue.

The Gender Argument Didn’t Work

Voters found gender a largely unpersuasive reason to vote for Floreen. In response to learning that she was the only female candidate, 22% were more likely to support her, 16% were less likely to support her, and 62% didn’t care. In other words, Floreen didn’t win or lose due to her gender.

More tellingly, Elrich had higher rates of support among women (58%) than among men (52%). In contrast, Floreen had more support among men (17%) than among women (12%). There is often a gender gap in favor of Democratic candidates, but Floreen was unable to close it as the sole female candidate.

Splitting the Vote?

In a guest blog post, Seth Grimes argued that Nancy Floreen split the Republican rather than the Democratic vote. The poll suggests that she didn’t really split either party’s vote. According to the survey, Floreen did far better among independents (26%) than either Democrats (12%) or Republicans (7%).

Both Elrich and Ficker had support of roughly three-quarters of their party’s voters. In heavily Democratic Montgomery, that worked to Elrich’s great advantage. Perhaps highlighting her history as a Democrat and photos with Hillary Clinton limited Floreen’s ability to make inroads into Republicans.

Does Campaign Financing Matter?

It has always been hard to get the public interested in the role of money in political campaigns. Elrich’s participation in public financing made 39% of voters more likely to support him but 29% less likely and didn’t matter to 32%. It’s a net positive but not a huge one.

The public, however, is much more interested in who donates to a candidate. Telling voters that Elrich “will take no contributions from the real-estate development industry” made 64% more likely to vote for him and just 17% less likely.

In contrast, telling voters that Floreen “will raise over 1 million dollars for their campaign with over 90% coming from the real-estate development industry” made 76% of voters less likely to support her and only 7% more likely. No wonder Elrich’s campaign worked hard to promote that story in the media.

As the following graph shows, the impact of linking her contributions to messages that Floreen has been too favorable to developers at the expense of taxpayers had an extremely negative impact on support for Floreen, especially among undecided voters.

Note that the messages were tested after initially gauging support for the candidates, so as not to taint these results.

Conclusion

Nancy Floreen has long been one of the most adept members of the county council. She has unquestionably been one of its leaders. For example, she led the fight to revamp the zoning code. This is a major accomplishment.

On the good news front, gender just didn’t matter much in the election. It was a slight positive, if anything, for Floreen and voters appeared more focused on other concerns. This should encourage more women to run in the future. After all, we want candidates to be judged on the merits.

In this political cycle, Floreen’s past advocacy for developers wasn’t advantageous. Her arguments that we need to give them freer rein and not make them pay more in order to have stronger economic growth didn’t gain traction. By running on them, she helped turn County Executive-Elect Marc Elrich’s decisive 64% victory in a mandate for his side of the argument.

Regardless of what you think of her issue positions, Councilmember Nancy Floreen has been exactly the type of smart and hardworking official we need in public office. I’ve always appreciated her willingness to be direct and defend her positions. Running and serving in public office is not easy. She has done it more than ably for four terms on the Montgomery County Council and one term as Mayor of Garrett Park. I wish her well.

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Your Election Night County Executive Scorecard

Eight Maryland counties elect county executives. These powerful offices are the equivalent of being mayor of a city. Incumbents are seeking reelection in five counties.

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks is sure to win in Prince George’s where the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election.

Baltimore County has quite the race between John Olszewski, Jr. and Al Redmer. Republicans think they have this one, partly due to the enormous margins Hogan is expected to rack up. But Olszewski has unified Democrats and is pulling out all the stops. Democrats think he’ll win this one.

In Anne Arundel and Howard, Democrats are running unexpectedly lively challenges to two favored Republican incumbents. In Anne Arundel, development is a major issue, as are incumbent Steve Schuh’s occasional wanderings into more right-wing rhetoric on non-county issues.

Allen Kittleman in Howard has a more moderate profile but faces a more Democratic electorate. Additionally, Howard has exactly the highly educated profile of places that are swinging hard to the Democrats this year.

Despite challenges, both Anne Arundel and Howard lean Republican and it will an upset if Democrats win either. Based on past election statistics and the political leanings of each county, Schuh ought to be harder to defeat. But Kittleman has carefully tailored his profile to his county.

Montgomery has more of a race than usual. Councilmember Floreen has abandoned the Democrats to run as an independent. Though she often voted with Elrich on the Council, Floreen argues that Marc Elrich is too hostile to business. Republicans are left with perennial candidate Robin Ficker.

Elrich should win easily notwithstanding ongoing hostility from the Washington Post and their support for Floreen. Despite an influx of cash into Floreen’s campaign coffers, her campaign has just not been visible enough to make the case against Elrich needed in order to persuade the overwhelmingly Democratic electorate to defect to her in sufficient numbers.

In contrast, Elrich has attacked Floreen as a tool of developer interests and maintained good pre-election contact with Democrats. As a former council president, Floreen represents the status quo in a year when voters seem ready for change.

Even if Floreen does well in the less Democratic upcounty, she will still have to contend with the heavily Democratic crescent that contains far more voters. There are just too many loyal Democrats and not enough has been done to peel them off.

Finally, portions of Floreen’s campaign seem designed to alienate Republicans and she needs their support. Floreen has repeatedly identified herself as lifelong Democrat and publicized photos with Hillary Clinton. Neither seem likely to woo Republicans. Since Republicans have shown themselves willing to reject Ficker, I’m not sure it was the best approach.

I can’t say I know enough about the remaining races to make any strong predictions. In Frederick, Del. Kathy Afzali is challenging incumbent County Exec. Jan Gardner in what I imagine is a hard fought race in this purple county. Harford and Wicomico are the sorts of places that tend to elect Republicans countywide.

Now, I’m heading out to go vote. If you haven’t done the same, I encourage you to join me at the polls!

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Floreen Certified for Ballot

By Adam Pagnucco.

County Executive candidate Nancy Floreen has announced that she has been certified for the ballot by the county’s Board of Elections.  Following is her press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 22, 2018

Contact: Sarah Van DeWeert

Sarah@NancyFloreen.com

MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS CERTIFIES FLOREEN’S CANDIDACY

Board Validates Over 13,000 Signatures in Councilwoman’s Bid to Get on the November Ballot

GARRETT PARK, MD – Today, the Montgomery County Board of Elections confirmed that Nancy Floreen exceeded the threshold of 7,255 valid signatures needed for her name to appear on the November 6 ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. The Board validated more than 13,000 of the signatures that were submitted earlier this month. With the help of canvassers and volunteers, Floreen collected over 20,000 signatures in just 25 days in her bid to be listed on the ballot.

“I want to thank the Board of Elections for being thorough and patient throughout the process. This petition drive was historic. The demand for a more inclusive choice was fueled by more than 20,000 people in less than a month. We’ve unleashed widespread community support. There’s an obvious and clear desire for balanced, non-partisan leadership for the County,” Floreen said.

The County Board of Elections July 2018 statistical report showed 652,346 registered voters, 143,420 of which are unaffiliated. With nearly 130,000 votes cast, Marc Elrich won the Democratic primary for County Executive by 77 votes over second-place finisher David Blair.

After receiving the news from the Board, and with 75 days until the general election, Floreen turned to focus on the campaign saying, “This is about creating a better future for all of us. We need to optimize people, process, and technology for a better Montgomery County moving forward. As County Executive, I plan to grow jobs and skills-based training, provide regional solutions to address transit challenges, greater access to mental health services, and significantly increase school construction.”

Floreen officially launches her campaign today and will open a campaign office in Rockville. For more information, contact Sarah Van De Weert or visit www.nancyfloreen.com.

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Floreen Claims More Than 20,000 Signatures

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen is claiming that she has obtained 20,343 signatures in her effort to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Executive.  That count far exceeds the 7,255 signatures required for ballot access but the county’s Board of Elections will now go through its verification process.  That could take a little while.  On August 8, 2016, Robin Ficker submitted roughly 18,000 signatures to get his term limits charter amendment on the ballot.  On August 23, the Board of Elections verified 12,573 of them, enough to qualify.  So this is not over yet.

We reprint Floreen’s statement below.

*****

MONTGOMERY COUNTY FOR NANCY FLOREEN

www.NancyFloreen.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Van De Weert

Sarah@NancyFloreen.com

FLOREEN SUBMITS 20,343 SIGNATURES TO MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS

Councilmember Will Offer Voters a Unifying Choice for County Executive in November

GARRETT PARK, MD – Montgomery County At-Large Councilmember Nancy Floreen submitted signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections today to appear on the ballot in November as a County Executive candidate. She issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that, in the past 25 days, we have collected 20,343 petition signatures and are submitting them today to the Montgomery County Board of Elections for verification. This should give us a comfortable margin above the 7,255 verified signatures we need to qualify to appear on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for County Executive in this year’s general election on November 6th.

Hundreds of people from all over the County volunteered to help in this effort, and I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve seen. Despite the incredible amount of rain we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, we still prevailed with the help of our dedicated volunteers and canvassers. I really can’t thank them enough. It shows there’s a real desire among voters, one that cuts across all party lines, for a unifying choice for County Executive this fall. People are tired of the extreme partisanship and polarization we see nationally. The last thing we want is more of that at the local level. Voters are looking for a broader, more inclusive vision for this County’s future, and for leaders who can unify us around practical solutions, so everyone can feel like they are being represented. That’s the kind of leadership I can offer.

We will now await the Board’s determination as to whether or not we have met the requirements to qualify as a candidate, and we will have a lot more to say then. Thank you again.”

About Nancy

Nancy Floreen is completing her fourth term as an At-large Member of the Montgomery Council, where she has served as Council President, chaired the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, and helped lead successful County initiatives on economic revitalization, school funding, environmental protection, transportation, affordable housing and smart-growth re-development, among other things. Previously, she served two terms as a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, in the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice, worked for US Senator Barbara Mikulski, and is a former Mayor of Garrett Park.

Nancy has been married to writer/attorney David O. Stewart for 44 years and has three children and two grandchildren. Nancy is a breast cancer survivor and an avid bicyclist having biked through nearly every county in Maryland. Her full bio can be found here.

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Authorized by: Montgomery County for Nancy Floreen | Joyce Fuhrmann, Treasurer

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Floreen to Deliver Petition Signatures Today

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen, who is trying to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for County Executive, will be delivering her petition signatures to the Montgomery County Board of Elections today.  Following is her press release.

*****

MONTGOMERY COUNTY FOR NANCY FLOREEN

www.NancyFloreen.com

MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 6, 2018

Contact: Sarah Van De Weert

Sarah@NancyFloreen.com

Nancy Floreen to Deliver Signatures to Montgomery County Board of Elections

GARRETT PARK, MD – Later today, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen will deliver signatures collected over the past 27 days to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, as required by law, to be listed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for County Executive in this year’s general election.

Who: Nancy Floreen, At-large Member of the Montgomery County Council

When: Monday, August 6, 2018 at 1:00pm (for approximately 30 minutes)

Where: Montgomery County Board of Elections

18753 N. Frederick Ave, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Why: At least 7,255 valid signatures must be submitted to the Board of Elections by 5:00pm on Monday, August 6, in order to quality to be listed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Nancy Floreen would like to run for the office of County Executive to offer voters a unifying choice this November.

For more information visit www.NancyFloreen.com

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Floreen Launches County Executive Website

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen, who is trying to get on the ballot as an independent candidate for Executive, has launched a new website for her run.  The site is short on details right now but many candidates launch starter sites early and expand them later.  Also, Floreen opened a new campaign finance account on July 3.  Its chair is Sally Sternbach, a former Executive Director of Rockville Economic Development Inc. and a former Acting Director of the county’s Department of Economic Development.  Its treasurer is Joyce Fuhrmann, who was once Council Member Mike Knapp’s Chief of Staff and is a former Vice President at the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation.

Below are three screenshots from Floreen’s new site.

Brautkleider, Brautjungfernkleider, Ballkleider, Brautmutterkleider

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Could Ficker Win a Three-Way Race for Executive?

By Adam Pagnucco.

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.

Robin Ficker’s official House of Delegates picture from 1978.  Forty years later, could he be headed to elected office again?

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.

Cathedral wedding Veil

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.

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Nancy Floreen is Running for Executive

By Adam Pagnucco.

Council Member Nancy Floreen has announced that she is gathering petition signatures for an independent run for County Executive.  We reprint her statement below.

*****

Montgomery County for Nancy Floreen

For Immediate Release

Contact: Sarah Van De Weert

s.vandeweert@gmail.com

Statement by Nancy Floreen

Montgomery County Councilmember

July 11, 2018

On July 2, I filed my intent to seek the office of Montgomery County Executive in the November general election as an independent. On July 9, I officially changed my party affiliation to “unaffiliated.”

Although the unofficial returns of the Democratic primary for County Executive are in, those results have not yet been certified by the Board of Elections. Given the tiny margin in unofficial returns, I am also aware that a recount of the ballots is likely.

Notwithstanding all this, I am today announcing that I will be circulating nominating petitions for the office of County Executive for the November general election beginning today.

I have been part of local government in Montgomery County for most of my career – as a member of the Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission, as mayor of Garrett Park, and then as a member of the County Council for 16 years. In this county, local government has always been about listening to people’s problems and figuring out the most effective and most efficient ways to help them. It has never been a partisan process, and it has built a great county.

I am a candidate for County Executive – unexpectedly, I admit – because it would be a terrible loss for this county to fall into the sort of polarized posturing that has poisoned our national politics. That’s not my way. I want to get things done for all of us. We need to attract good jobs for our people, provide housing for everyone, and reinforce our tax base so we can continue to provide the services people need. That’s what I want to do. I hope the voters will help me work to do the things we need to do and leave the posturing to others.

The critical interests of Montgomery County families are ill-served when any candidate can prevail with barely 29 percent of the one-third of Democrats who turned out, the Republicans had no choice at all, and the county’s 150,000 independent voters were prevented by law from voting in either contest. There is no mandate here. Most county voters have yet to be heard from.

That is why I am determined to give Montgomery County a third, independent choice come November. I am heartened by the positive response this effort has already won. I call upon all Democrats, independents, and Republicans to say “no” to both flawed extremes, to think for themselves, and to put principle and pragmatism above purely party politics.

Montgomery County deserves no less.

For more information, contact Sarah Van De Weert at s.vandeweert@gmail.com.

Montgomery County for Nancy Floreen

P.O. Box 183

Garrett Park, MD 20896

By Authority: Joyce Fuhrmann, Treasurer

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Floreen Faces an Uphill Climb to Get on the Ballot

By Adam Pagnucco.

As has been previously written both here and in Bethesda Magazine, Council Member Nancy Floreen faces two hurdles in getting on the ballot as an independent candidate for Executive.  First, there is the question of whether she can change her registration from Democratic to unaffiliated in time to access the ballot as a non-Democrat.  That issue is playing out now.  Second, she faces a petition signature requirement.  That’s going to be tough.

State law requires that an independent candidate seeking to get on the ballot for a general election must gather a number of voter signatures equal to the lesser of 10,000 or 1% of registered voters by the first Monday in August (which is August 6th this year).  In Floreen’s case, the relevant number is around 6,500.  That might seem doable EXCEPT that state law is very exacting on how petition signatures are evaluated by boards of election.  Among the requirements are the following.

Petition circulators do not have to be registered voters or even residents of Maryland, but they must be at least age 18.

Circulators may be paid but petition signers may not be paid.

Circulators must sign an affidavit on each petition signature page attesting to the following:

All identifying information given by the circulator is true and correct;

Signatures were placed on the petition in the circulator’s presence; and

Based on the circulator’s best knowledge and belief, each signature on the page is genuine and each signer is a registered voter in Maryland.

The circulator must sign and date the affidavit.  Any signature on the page that is dated after the circulator’s affidavit is invalid.

Smudged and/or illegible signatures are rejected so signing in pencil is discouraged.

A voter may not sign a petition more than once.

Voters may not sign on behalf of their spouses.

Signers must provide the full month, day and year of signing.  The circulator should not fill in that information unless the signer asks for help.  Ditto marks are prohibited.

The signer’s current permanent residence address must be provided.  Business addresses are not permitted.  Post office boxes are permitted only if there is no street and house number designation for the voter’s residence and only if the post office box address is on record with the election office.

There are very specific requirements on how the signer’s name should appear.  According to the state’s FAQ document:

The name either has to match the registration list or include all parts of the name required in the statute. Section 6-203 of the Election Law Article states “To sign a petition, an individual shall: (1) sign the individual’s name as it appears on the statewide voter registration list or the individual’s surname of registration and at least one full given name and the initials of any other names.”

For example, if a voter is registered as Margaret Hall Smith, it is permissible for her to sign as Margaret H. Smith or M. Hall Smith. But M.H. Smith or Margaret Smith is not permissible and will be invalidated. Additionally, the use of her nickname, Peggy Smith or her married name Mrs. John Smith will be invalidated. If a voters’ registered name has a suffix (i.e. Jr., Sr., III, etc.) the signature will not be invalidated if the signer fails to include it on the petition.

The State Board of Elections’ procedures manual for petitions provides further discussion of this.

If this seems daunting, well, it is.  Consider the recent experience of MoCo’s greatest petition circulator of all time, Robin Ficker, who has gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures over the last four-plus decades.  It took Ficker more than a year to gather over 18,000 signatures for his 2016 term limits petition, of which 12,573 were ultimately verified by the county’s Board of Elections.  Yes, others besides Ficker gathered some of the signatures, but Ficker supervised the effort.  If the greatest of all time has an error rate of approximately one third, what would the error rate be for any new or paid circulators retained by Floreen?  She is going to need a LOT more than 6,500 signatures to survive scrutiny by the board of elections and, possibly, the courts to make it on the ballot.  Plus the fact that the petition is due on August 6 – less than a month away – puts immense pressure on the whole process.

Nancy Floreen needs a great election lawyer.  Now.  She needs a significant number of circulators who are trained in the State of Maryland’s petition requirements.  Now.  They need to be on the streets gathering signatures.  Now.  And she needs many thousands of dollars to pay for all this.  Now.

Or else she won’t be on the ballot.

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