Editor’s note: The list was updated at 9:15 p.m. July 18 to add an endorsement of Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin; at 3:15 p.m. July 12 to add an endorsement of Elrich by former state treasurer Nancy Kopp; at 9:55 a.m. June 27 to add endorsements made by the Washington Post editorial page, and at 4:30 p.m. June 23 to add endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police. Bethesda Beat first posted this list at 9 a.m. June 20, and will continue to update it as new endorsements are announced.
In past election cycles, it has not been unusual for two dozen state- and county-based groups to weigh in with candidate endorsements in the weeks and months leading up to the primary election in the overwhelmingly Democratic jurisdiction of Montgomery County.
This year, the number of organizations opting to make endorsements has decreased a bit, given logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the legal maneuvering that ultimately caused a seven-week delay in the candidate filing deadline – along with postponement of Primary Day itself. Nonetheless, with a contentious race for county executive, along with a half-dozen open seats on the County Council due to term limits and an expansion in the membership of that body, there are no shortage of groups and organizations seeking to sway the outcome on July 19.
What follows is a compilation of primary endorsements by a number of organizations that are well-known locally and have established a presence in recent elections. A large majority of the groups weighing in with endorsements in this year’s Democratic primary — there are no contested Republican primary elections at the county level with the exception of the county executive race — are labor unions, with most of the rest of the endorsements coming from issue advocacy organizations.
Only one business group — the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR) — has made formal endorsements this year. Another, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA), did so in recent election cycles — but has opted not to do so this time around. Instead, officials of that organization indicated they may express informal preferences through financial support to certain candidates.
Here are the competitive races this year for county offices. With a number of organizations still deciding on who to endorse in some races, the list will be updated as new endorsements become available in the closing weeks of the primary campaign. (Here is a separate breakdown of endorsements in this year’s contested elections for the Maryland General Assembly.)
Some explanatory notes about the organizations whose endorsements are listed below:
The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) represents more than 14,000 teachers and other non-supervisory educational professionals in the county school system; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 represents the school system’s 9,500-member support staff. The membership of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1994 MCGEO includes about 5,300 of the county’s full-time employees — another 1,250 are police officers represented by FOP Lodge 35, and 1,100 more are career firefighters who belong to IAFF Local 1664. The Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association represents 19 local fire and ambulance services around Montgomery County that are staffed on a volunteer basis.
SEIU 32BJ represents many property service workers at office and apartment buildings in the county, while UFCW Local 400 includes about 4,000 retail service workers in Montgomery County, primarily at area supermarkets. The Metro Washington Labor Council is the regional arm of the AFL-CIO, and counts nearly 200 union locals throughout the metropolitan area as affiliates. Progressive Maryland is a statewide issue advocacy group that coordinates with religious and community groups and labor union locals.
While the Sierra Club endorses candidates at both the county and state level, endorsements for county offices are made by the club’s “Montgomery County Group”, while endorsements at the statewide and state legislative level are the province of the Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter. Another leading state environmental group, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, limits its Montgomery County endorsements to state legislative races.
CASA In Action is the political arm of CASA, which bills itself as the largest Latino and immigrant organization in Maryland.
Pro-Choice Maryland was affiliated with the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) until the beginning of this year, when it – along with 10 other state affiliates of NARAL Pro-Choice America were spun off from the national organization.
Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA): Marc Elrich
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500: Elrich
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ: Elrich
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994 MCGEO: Elrich
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400: Elrich
Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 1664): Elrich
Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association: Elrich
Metro Washington Labor Council/AFL-CIO: Elrich
Progressive Maryland: Elrich
CASA In Action: Elrich
Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (GCAAR): David Blair (GCAAR also has endorsed Reardon Sullivan in the Republican county executive primary.)
Pro-Choice Maryland: Elrich
Sierra Club/Montgomery County Group: Blair
The Washington Post Editorial Page: Blair
Of note: The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP Lodge 35) has opted to make no endorsement in the 2022 Democratic primary after endorsing Elrich four years ago. (It has endorsed Sullivan in this year’s Republican primary.)
In addition to organizations, an unusually large number of current and former elected officials have weighed in with endorsements in this year’s contentious Democratic county executive primary.
David Blair: County Council Member Nancy Navarro; state Sens. Brian Feldman, Cheryl Kagan and Nancy King; Del. Lily Qi; Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman; former U.S. Reps. Michael Barnes and John Delaney; former County Council members Valerie Ervin and Nancy Floreen; former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow
Marc Elrich: U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin; Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh; state Sens. Ben Kramer and Susan Lee; Dels. Gabriel Acevero and Vaughn Stewart; Town of Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin; former state Treasurer Nancy Kopp
Hans Riemer: Former Gov. Parris Glendening; former County Council members Cherri Branson and Gail Ewing
County Council/At-Large (four seats)
MCEA: Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass, Will Jawando, Laurie-Anne Sayles
SEIU Local 500: Albornoz, Glass, Jawando, Sayles
SEIU 32BJ: Albornoz, Glass, Jawando, Sayles
UFCW MCGEO: Albornoz, Glass, Tom Hucker, Sayles
UFCW Local 400: Glass, Hucker, Sayles
Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters (IAFF Local 1664): Albornoz, Glass, Hucker, Jawando
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Albornoz, Glass, Hucker, Scott Goldberg, Jawando
Fraternal Order of Police: Albornoz, Goldberg, Hucker
Metro Washington Labor Council: Glass, Hucker, Jawando, Sayles
Progressive Maryland: Hucker, Jawando, Sayles
CASA: Albornoz, Glass, Jawando, Sayles
GCAAR: Albornoz, Glass, Goldberg, Hucker
Pro-Choice Maryland: Glass, Hucker, Jawando, Sayles
Sierra Club: Glass, Hucker, Jawando, Sayles
The Washington Post: Albornoz, Glass, Goldberg, Jawando
Of note: CASA and the MCEA originally included Brandy Brooks in their endorsements, but rescinded those endorsements in late April and early May, respectively, following allegations of sexual harassment against Brooks by a former campaign staffer. CASA opted to add Sayles to its list of endorsements at that time, with the MCEA adding Albornoz to its list.
The Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association decided to endorse Albornoz, Glass, Goldberg and Jawando before Hucker dropped out of the county executive primary in mid-April and opted to run instead for council at large. The group then added Hucker to its list, putting it in the position of endorsing five candidates for four available primary nominations. While this practice is unusual, it is not precluded under the bylaws of several local groups that make primary election endorsements.
County Council/District 1 (Bethesda/Chevy Chase/Potomac)
Of note: The Democratic incumbent in this district, Andrew Friedson, is guaranteed re-election to a second term: He has no opposition in the July 19 primary and no Republican challenger on the November general election ballot.
County Council/District 2 (Clarksburg/Darnestown/ Germantown/North Potomac/Poolesville)
MCEA: Will Roberts
SEIU Local 500: Roberts
UFCW MCGEO: Roberts
UFCW Local 400: Roberts
Career Firefighters: Roberts
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Roberts
Fraternal Order of Police: Marilyn Balcombe
Progressive Maryland: Roberts
Pro-Choice Maryland: Roberts
Sierra Club: Balcombe
The Washington Post: Balcombe
Of note: While Roberts has claimed the bulk of organizational endorsements in this contest, Balcombe’s campaign has lined up individual endorsements from more than a dozen local elected officials, including current County Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Craig Rice —the latter of whom has represented District 2 since 2010, but must relinquish the seat due to term limits.
County Council/District 3 (Rockville/Gaithersburg)
MCEA: Sidney Katz
SEIU Local 500: Katz
UFCW MCGEO: Katz
UFCW Local 400: Katz
Career Fire Fighters: Katz
Fraternal Order of Police: Katz
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Katz
Sierra Club: Robert Wu
The Washington Post: Katz
County Council/District 4 (Garrett Park/Kensington/North Bethesda/Silver Spring/Takoma Park)
MCEA: Kate Stewart
SEIU Local 500: Stewart
UFCW MCGEO: Stewart
UFCW Local 400: Stewart
Career Fire Fighters: Stewart
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Stewart
Metro Washington Labor Council: Stewart
Progressive Maryland: Stewart
GCAAR: Amy Ginsburg
Pro-Choice Maryland: Stewart
Sierra Club: Stewart
The Washington Post: Ginsburg
County Council/District 5 (Burtonsville/Colesville/White Oak)
MCEA: Fatmata Barrie
SEIU Local 500: Barrie
SEIU 32BJ: Kristin Mink
UFCW MCGEO: Daniel Koroma
UFCW Local 400: Koroma
Career Fire Fighters: Brian Anleu
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Anleu
Fraternal Order of Police: Anleu
Metro Washington Labor Council: Koroma
Progressive Maryland: Barrie
Pro-Choice Maryland: Barrie
Sierra Club: Anleu
The Washington Post: Jeremiah Pope
County Council/District 6 (Aspen Hill/Glenmont/Wheaton)
MCEA: Natali Fani-Gonzalez
SEIU Local 500: Fani-Gonzalez
SEIU 32BJ: Fani-Gonzalez
UFCW MCGEO: Fani-Gonzalez
UFCW Local 400: Fani-Gonzalez
Career Firefighters: Fani-Gonzalez
Volunteer-Fire Rescue: Omar Lazo
Metro Washington Labor Council: Fani-Gonzalez
Progressive Maryland: Fani-Gonzalez
Pro-Choice Maryland: Marice Morales
Sierra Club: Fani-Gonzalez
The Washington Post: Fani-Gonzalez
County Council/District 7 (Brookeville/Damascus/Laytonsville/Montgomery Village/Olney)
MCEA: Dawn Luedtke
SEIU Local 500: Luedtke
UFCW MCGEO: Luedtke
UFCW Local 400: Luedtke
Career Firefighters: Luedtke
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Luedtke
Metro Washington Labor Council: Luedtke
Sierra Club: Jacqueline Manger
The Washington Post: Luedtke
Of note: Pro-Choice Maryland did not endorse in this race after the organization’s board deadlocked over which candidate to back.
UFCW MCGEO: John McCarthy
UFCW Local 400: McCarthy
Metropolitan Labor Council: McCarthy
Career Fire Fighters: McCarthy
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: McCarthy
Fraternal Order of Police: Tom DeGonia
CASA: Perry Paylor
The Washington Post: McCarthy
UFCW MCGEO: Maxwell Uy
Volunteer Fire-Rescue: Uy
Fraternal Order of Police: Uy
Judge of the Circuit Court (four seats)
UFCW MCGEO: Carlos Acosta, Theresa Chernosky, Kathleen Dumais, Rachel McGuckian
Career Fire Fighters: Acosta, Chernosky, Dumais, McGuckian
Fraternal Order of Police: Acosta, Chernosky, Dumais, McGuckian
CASA: Marylin Pierre
Washington Post: Acosta, Chernosky, Dumais, McGuckian
Of note: Unlike the four-year terms of other offices on this year’s ballot, circuit court judges are elected to 15-year terms. Under state election law, the incumbent judges appointed by the governor since the last election, along with challengers who file to run, appear on both the Democratic and Republican primary ballots.
Clerk of The Circuit Court
UFCW MCGEO: Karen Bushell
Board of Education/At-Large
SEIU Local 500: Karla Silvestre
Of note: Unlike the other three nonpartisan Board of Education district races on the ballot on July 19, the MCEA has opted not to make an endorsement in the three-candidate contest for this seat.
Board of Education/District 1 (Clarksburg/Germantown/Montgomery Village)
MCEA: Grace Rivera-Oven
SEIU Local 500: Rivera-Oven
Board of Education/District 3 (Bethesda/Chevy Chase/Potomac)
MCEA: Julie Yang
SEIU Local 500: Scott Joftus
Board o f Education/District 5 (Silver Spring)
MCEA: Valerie Coll
SEIU Local 500: Brenda Wolff
Louis Peck, a contributing editor for Bethesda Magazine, can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.