By Neal Earley
SILVER SPRING — Three-term Montgomery County Council member Democrat Marc Elrich has declared himself the winner of the County Executive race, besting fellow at-large council member Nancy Floreen (I) and Republican Robin Ficker.
With 255 of the 255 precincts in Montgomery County reporting, Elrich won 225,900 votes, which is 64.3 percent of the vote. Behind Elrich, Floreen won 67,402 votes, which accounted for 19.2 percent of the vote, just ahead of Ficker who won a total of 57,489 votes, which accounted for 16.4 percent of the vote total
Elrich, a former elementary school teacher from Takoma Park, ran a campaign on making developers pay more for infrastructure and schools, universal early-childhood education, closing the racial achievement gap in Montgomery County Public Schools, and investing more in mass transit to curb the County’s growing traffic congestion.
In his victory speech at the Silver Spring Civic Building, Elrich talked about overcoming a general election campaign from fellow County Council member Nancy Floreen, who switched her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent to run against him in the general election.
“My opponent [Floreen] claimed that she was going to unify the County — she probably did. She unified the County behind me,” Elrich said.
In his speech, Elrich promised to back working people, to fund universal pre-K education, to build a bus rapid transit system, to reduce the County’s carbon footprint, and to find a way to do it without raising taxes.
“I got a $5.5-billion budget; if I can’t find ways to save money in that budget and to repurpose it for things that are really important — then something is wrong with us,” Elrich said
Elrich, who calls himself an activist, had to fight claims that he was dangerous for Montgomery County. Floreen attacked Elrich as too far outside the mainstream, saying electing him would hurt the County’s already poor reputation for business. Ficker attacked Elrich as having a campaign backed by progressive political action committees and unions while taking public campaign finance.
Elrich said he resented claims that he was dangerous, saying that the people of Montgomery County did not buy the accusations made against him.
“I’m with you, and you’re with me, and we’re going to build this County together,” Elrich said.