Says she still won’t call herself a candidate for county executive until ratified
GAITHERSBURG — At-large County Council member Nancy Floreen said she is waiting for her paperwork to be processed before she will call herself a candidate for County Executive.
The four-term member of the County Council surprised many after she announced she would switch her party affiliation from Democrat to independent and make a run for County Executive. While her candidacy is not official yet, that has not stopped Floreen from campaigning.
On Monday, Floreen invited members of the media to watch as she turned in a petition with 20,343 signatures, calling for her to be placed on the November ballot. The 20,343 signatures are significantly more than the roughly 7,000 signatures Floreen needs from Montgomery County voters, but the signatures still have to be verified by Montgomery County Board of Elections staff, before Floreen’s name can be placed on the ballot.
Floreen said she is running in part because she is concerned about economic growth in the County and that the Democratic candidate, Council member Marc Elrich, will not be able to accommodate the needs of businesses.
“We are going to create a culture of making businesses feel that they add some value to our community,” Floreen said. “That’s only part of it – just part of it – but if we want to support our incredible school system, our park system, what our employees need, we need a tax base that will allow us to do that.”
Floreen turned in 20,343 signatures at the Montgomery County Board of Elections office Monday, but said since her candidacy is not official, she will not call herself a candidate for office yet.
The General Election will now likely have three candidates: Democrat Marc Elrich, former-Democrat-turned-independent Nancy Floreen, and Republican Robin Ficker. Floreen said she previously had no intention of running for County Executive, deciding to endorse former Rockville Mayor Rose Krasnow, but felt that she needed to run, citing Ficker and Elrich as being insufficient choices for voters.
“Trust me, I wasn’t going to do this, but at the end, given the choices that became very apparent. I was convinced that the community really wanted a real choice – and I am going to offer that,” Floreen said.
For her entire time on the County Council, Floreen has been a Democrat, and her decision to run an independent has caused a rift among some people in the County. While County Executive Ike Leggett is backing Elrich to be his successor, Leggett’s predecessor, Doug Duncan, said he is supporting Floreen, because he believes Elrich is a “socialist.”
At an event in Bethesda with Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Duncan asked Hogan if he would support changing the primary format in the state, saying Elrich, the Democratic nominee, is, “really a socialist and not a Democrat.”
“We can’t have Marc Elrich as our County Executive,” Duncan said. “He’s going to attack the private sector. We’re not going to grow the tax base.”
For Leggett, Elrich’s progressive politics and record on business are not a worry, he said, saying he feels reassured that Elrich will support County tax subsidies for Amazon to locate its new headquarters in the County.
“He [Elrich] came out as very clearly supportive of Amazon. I’m not one who makes up labels and generalizes about people,” Leggett said.