Gazette Endorses Phil Andrews For Montgomery County Executive

The Gazette this week endorsed Phil Andrews for Montgomery County executive in the June 24 Democratic primary, contradicting The Washington Post, which gave incumbent Ike Leggett a somewhat tepid endorsement for re-election on May 3. The Post and The Gazette are linked by ownership, but have independent editorial boards.

Doug Duncan’s failure to win either endorsement can hardly be considered a fatal blow. Both The Post and The Gazette had complimentary things to say about Duncan, and he appears to have wide name recognition.

What we have here, Montgomery County, is a down-to-the-wire three-way race for county executive. The Gazette endorsement certifies it as such, if ever there was any doubt. Who can win a majority in the Democratic primary? Probably none of the above. We’re most likely looking at a county executive chosen by plurality.

Turnout in early voting, June 12-19, and on Election Day, June 24, will be critical. The outcome might depend on which of the three has the most committed voters.

Here’s what the Gazette said about Andrews:

We pondered long on whom to endorse, because each provides a set of skills that could be useful over the next four years. Ultimately, we decided Andrews offers a better prescription as the county emerges from our economic hardships.

“For one, Andrews promises to be tight with our money. As we’re in the middle of a sputtering recovery, Montgomery County needs four years of that. In a March op-ed piece in The Gazette, he showed where he would trim $40 million from the recently passed budget, and where he would redirect the money: tax relief, infrastructure maintenance, expanded library hours and increased school resource officers. These are all tangible services, showing Andrews would be a wise steward of the taxes we pay.”

And here’s what The Post said about Leggett:

Mr. Leggett is a skilled, strategically savvy leader who is widely admired for his civility and political acuity. The caveat is that he is also at least in part the candidate of the status quo. And in Montgomery, the status quo is not quite right.

“In endorsing him in the June 24 primary, we are hoping that Mr. Leggett will intensify the challenge he has posed in recent years to the county’s entrenched interests. Chief among those interests are Montgomery’s public employee unions.”

I doubt that Ike Leggett is particularly worried at this point. He has TV ads scheduled. Duncan might be in trouble, unless he can match Leggett’s advertising budget. And Andrews is coming up strong on the outside.

You can read the Gazette’s endorsement of Andrews here.

The Post’s endorsement of Leggett is here.

I leave you with this reminder: The deadline for registering to vote, or for changing your party affiliation, is June 3. Is there an adult in your household who’s not a registered voter? Young adults who will turn 18 by the November election are eligible to register and vote in the June 24 primary.

— John Hayden

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