By Suzanne Pollak
Council member Nancy Floreen’s late entry into the County Executive race for what she considered a necessary attempt to save the County from Democrat Marc Elrich’s progressive spending and anti-business agenda fell far short.
At the same time, the Democratic Party’s fear that her third-party candidacy would throw the election to Republican Robin Ficker did not materialize.
With 255 of 255 precincts reporting, the unofficial vote tally was 225,900 for Elrich, 67,402 for Floreen and 57,489 for Ficker. Floreen garnered not even one-third of Elrich’s vote.
Still, she was upbeat as she addressed her supporters at the Matchbox restaurant in Rockville.
“We have made history,” Floreen told supporters.
However, she said, “It looks like Mr. Elrich has a clear majority. I wish Mr. Elrich and Montgomery County the best.”
She called Elrich after seeing the election results and left him a message, she said.
“It’s been an incredible time. We touched a lot of nerves,” she told her supporters.
“In 120 days, we made a campaign,” gathering more than 700 volunteers and $930,000. “We unleashed a lot of excitement.”
In the end, the Democratic candidate won big.
Throughout the race and during the numerous debates, Floreen was labeled the candidate who was in the hands of the developers. She also was criticized for leaving the Democratic Party to run as an unaffiliated candidate.
Because of term limits, Floreen, 67, could not seek reelection for her council seat and will no longer hold a County position, something she has done since being appointed to the County Planning Board in 1986.
When asked about her future plans, Floreen said, “We’ll see.”
Anika Seth, a tenth-grader at Montgomery Blair High School called Floreen “one of my role models.”
Seth began volunteering for Floreen after she heard the Council member speak about women following their dreams. Seth is a member of a robotics team.
“She stands up for women. Her female empowerment is so important,” Seth said at Floreen’s get-together on Election Night.
Also supporting Floreen was 12-year-old Ari Kittrie, who along with his father, Orde Kittrie, followed Floreen throughout the campaign. They attended one of her political debates and then spent the next days reading up on the three candidates.
After all that, the young Bethesda resident decided, “Elrich is too left. Ficker is too right. She’s in the middle.”
Ari Kittrie spent Election Day handing out 48 pamphlets for Floreen at a polling place in Bethesda.
The mood at Matchbox was somber even before the delayed results came in. Some pointed to Elrich’s majority in early voting, fearing the gap was too large to overcome.
As Floreen walked up to a microphone to concede, several people slowly left the restaurant, a few women cried, but Floreen tried to brighten the moods of her supporters.
To one sobbing women, Floreen gave a hug and said, “What did we learn? Just think, what did we learn?”