Turn-out in yesterday’s primary elections was light. I chatted with White Flint realtor Emily Mintz at one polling place yesterday and she had seen a “trickle” of voters all day. No other voters were there when I signed in, though a couple turned up as I was leaving.
Roger Berliner, the incumbent Councilmember for District 1, which includes White Flint, won the Democratic primary with 75% of the vote over newcomer Ilaya Hopkins. Since 60% of the voters in District 1 are Democrats (20% are independents and 20% are Republicans, according to Hopkins), it’s likely that Berliner will also see victory in November, though his Republican challenger, Rob Vricella, told me that he was looking forward to the race. “I’m going to ask him some tough questions,” Vricella said. “I’ll do ok.”
(Roger Berliner (L) at a public debate with opponent Ilaya Hopkins)
In the race for At-Large Council seats, a very tight race, unlikely to be resolved finally until absentee ballots are counted next week. Four incumbents were running for re-election, and only one looks like a pretty sure bet to return: Marc Elrich of Silver Spring, with 45,000 votes.
(Marc Elrich (L) with Old Farm’s Ed Rich)
Newcomer Hans Reimer finished a strong second in the voting, with 39,000 votes, and likely will take a place on the Council (since no Republican At-Large candidate garnered more than 15,000 votes). Reimer is an active supporter of New Urbanism and is expected to support sustainable development initiatives.
(Hans Reimer (seated, left) watching presentation on promoting bicycle commuting at July 13 FoWF Board Meeting)
Two other incumbents had a tougher time winning their At-Large Democratic nominations: incumbents George Leventhal of Takoma Park and Nancy Floreen of Garrett Park. Each had about 37,000 votes.
(Nancy Floreen (R) and George Leventhal (C), with Randolph Civic Association’s Dan Hoffman (L))
Incumbent Duchy Trachtenberg of White Flint had 32,000 votes and looks to be the likeliest of the incumbents to lose her re-election bid.
(Duchy Trachtenberg at a FoWF Speakers Series event)
In other news, former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson lost his bid for the District 2 seat, with state legislator Craig Rice grabbing the Democratic nomination. Councilmembers Valerie Ervin, who backed Reimer’s candidacy and was unopposed for the Democratic nod, looks to be in a stronger position for her likely term as Council President next year. Council incumbents Phil Andrews and Nancy Navarro also won their nominations.
Maryland Politics Watch has a quick analysis.
[Update: Duchy has conceded, according to the Washington Post. She was a strong supporter of White Flint’s sustainable, transit-oriented Plan, and we all thank her for her service. She told the Post that she lost because she took tough stands on issues which angered “special interests,” and comments from at least one union figure seem to bear that out:
“I do not regret sounding the alarm about the growing imbalance between the compensation and benefits paid to county employees and the need to fund services for the county’s most vulnerable populations,” she said in a statement. “Montgomery County cannot keep asking its residents to pay higher and higher taxes just to pay for higher government salaries while services decline.”
John Sparks, head of the county firefighters union, expressed satisfaction late Tuesday that Trachtenberg seemed to be losing.
“She sought all the endorsements of the unions and she said she would support working families, and support issues of interest to the unions, and when she got elected she did just the opposite,” Sparks said.