A Paradigm Shift in Montgomery County Politics
By Ryan Gniadek*
In Maryland at-large, the upcoming election will be the most consequential in half a century. The opportunity to re-elect a Republican governor for the first time since Theodore McKeldin in 1954, directly prior to the redistricting process no less, will have an impact far beyond Maryland. Above all, the implementation of fairly drawn congressional districts will likely give Republicans 2-3 extra seats in the House of Representatives, which could prove pivotal to maintaining future control of the House.
And that’s not all. Breaking the Democratic supermajority in the State Senate would provide a major shift in the balance of power in Annapolis that would give Governor Hogan far greater leverage to enact his common-sense agenda for Maryland.
Now let’s look at Montgomery County. In the past, Democrats have taken our county-level races for granted. In 2018, this county’s elections are a microcosm of the competitive and high-stakes elections statewide.
In the County Executive race, a unique opportunity has presented itself with the dynamic of a three-way race. Robin Ficker, the Republican nominee, has just as much of a chance as Nancy Floreen, the liberal Democrat who is running as an independent, and Marc Elrich, the Democrats’ nominee, who is a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” of winning this election. The two council members in the race – Marc and Nancy – would be exceptionally arrogant to dismiss Robin Ficker as having no chance. One would think they learned their lessons after the term limits referendum of 2016, which was spearheaded by Robin Ficker. All Montgomery County voters should welcome a spirited debate among the three candidates on the issues facing our county.
Up-county, in the second councilmanic district, things are looking good for Republican nominee Ed Amatetti. He is running against a weak incumbent in Craig Rice, who seems to be more focused on circus animals than real issues impacting residents of the district. District 2 has always been the most competitive district in the county, and this year our party is running a better financed and more sophisticated operation than we ever have before. It was in 2016 that Craig Rice was the deciding vote to raise property taxes on hardworking Montgomery County families, and in November 2018 those same families will be feeling that hole in their wallets when they go to cast a ballot, much to our advantage.
Next time someone tells you that Republicans have no chance in Montgomery County, remind them that there are multiple highly competitive races this year, and that can be said even before you look at the state and federal races. Imagine a world where there was a Republican County Executive and a Republican councilman – two allies for the Hogan agenda – in Montgomery County.
Now that would be a paradigm shift in Montgomery County politics.
*Ryan Gniadek serves as the chairman of the Montgomery County Teenage Republicans. He can be contacted via email at [email protected].