The Washington Post Editorial Board took a page from its 2018 playbook by endorsing David Blair for Montgomery County executive.
“Mr. Blair is upbeat, even-tempered and proactive,” The Post Editorial Board wrote.
The Post Editorial Post released its second endorsement for Mr. Blair on Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Read The Washington Post’s 2022 endorsement of David Blair for Montgomery County executive.
And you can read The Washington Post‘s 2018 endorsement of Mr. Blair.
The Washington Post 2022 Blair Endorsement Summarized
The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote glowingly about the prospects of Blair taking control of a county that’s unfocused on a growing economy, affordable housing, and rising crime.
“Mr. Blair is right that unless Montgomery steps up its economic development game, improves transportation alternatives, and rebalances its affordable housing supply to meet demand, the county’s prospects are anemic.
His detailed, proactive plan is the right medicine to revitalize the county.
And his smart approach to rising crime — he would both support and reform the police — would be an upgrade on Mr. Elrich, who bungled the hiring of a new police chief.”
These are “good qualities for an executive and exactly what the county needs to lift its flagging fortunes.”
Washington Post Editorial Critical Of County Executive Marc Elrich
The Post‘s latest Blair endorsement is a one-two punch:
- David Blair, please!
- Vote for anybody but Marc Elrich!
In fairness to Marc Elrich, The Washington Post was not a fan of his for many years.
The Post‘s Blair endorsement should come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed Montgomery County politics for some time.
Nevertheless, the only surprise from The Post’s endorsement is how much time the editorial board dedicated to trashing Marc Elrich.
The Post could have just as easily heaped deserving praise onto Mr. Blair in the same amount of column space as it spent ripping Mr. Elrich’s record.
Marc Elrich Deserves Credit For His COVID-19 Response
Elected officials are so often deserving subjects of stinging newspaper editorials.
County Executive Marc Elrich is no exception.
But much of Mr. Elrich’s first term as county executive was spent responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s more than fair to commend Mr. Elrich and his administration for their COVID-19 rapid response.
The Elrich administration kept Montgomery Countians safe and likely saved countless lives.
Mr. Elrich prioritized public safety from the pandemic’s outset and steadfastly refused to cave to public pressure from the small cabal of lunatic fringe anti-maskers.
But The Post Editorial Board’s Blair endorsement never even mentioned the Elrich administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That was a mistake.
It’s their editorial, however; they can write whatever they want.
Instead, the Washington Post ignored Mr. Elrich’s pandemic response entirely.
The editorial board even went so far as to praise Hans Riemer, one of Mr. Blair and Mr. Elrich’s Democratic primary opponents.
Here’s what The Post wrote:
“Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous locality, is home to more than 1 million people whose top elected official (Marc Elrich) has mismanaged its $6 billion budget and workforce, subverted its prospects of attracting jobs and prosperity, pandered to his narrow political base, and set the county up for failure.
In no uncertain terms, the Washington Post’s ominous political forecast – re-electing Marc Elrich to a second term – is a clarion call to Montgomery County Democratic primary voters:
“If Mr. Elrich is elected to a second four-year term, the results would likely be a quickening deterioration of the county’s tax and employment base, with severe implications for its ability to afford top-notch schools, services, public safety, housing, and transportation.”
The Post characterizes Mr. Elrich’s messaging as “toxic:”
“He attacked a new transit line as “ethnic cleansing“; threw cold water on a $3 billion project that could provide thousands of jobs in the eastern county, which badly needs them; and said it was no big deal that Montgomery lost thousands of jobs to Arlington County in the competition for Amazon’s new headquarters. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Post.)
At the same time, Mr. Elrich’s insistence on blaming others, and his venomous relationship with the County Council, have poisoned the public debate.”
Marc Elrich Has No Traffic Relief Plan
Traffic relief is where Elrich’s support drops off for many Montgomery Countians.
In 2019, Gov. Hogan and state transportation officials introduced a public-private partnership traffic relief plan.
Here are the basics of Mr. Hogan’s P3 Plan:
- Fix the American Legion Bridge;
- Widen the Capital Beltway (495);
- Add managed toll lanes to Interstate 270.
Outgoing County Councilman Craig Rice gets it!
A Miner Detail Podcast hosted a panel discussion about Gov. Hogan’s traffic relief plan.
Voters elect candidates to public office to “get stuff done.”
You’ve probably heard Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez’s campaign ad that plays on a loop every five minutes during the FOX 5 weekday morning shows.
Mr. Perez says he’s from the Democratic Party’s “Get Stuff Done” wing.
Mr. Elrich is supporting Mr. Perez’s gubernatorial bid.
But Mr. Hogan’s traffic plan is more important right now.
Guess who else thinks so?
Read the Washington Post editorial board endorsement of Larry Hogan’s traffic relief project.
For years, Montgomery County politicians have complained about the county’s crumbling infrastructure and increased traffic congestion.
What have these same politicians done to relieve traffic congestion in Montgomery County?
Larry Hogan was done with empty promises – so he took action.
The governor and his administration introduced an Interstate 495/270 traffic relief plan in 2019.
Hopefully, Mr. Hogan’s traffic relief plan moves forward and isn’t pushed into endless litigation.
Though depending on who’s elected Maryland governor in November 2022, Mr. Hogan’s traffic congestion relief plan is seemingly on tenuous ground.
Take note, Mr. Elrich: 61% of area residents support Governor Hogan’s commonsense traffic relief plan.
Traffic Relief Is Not One-Size-Fits-All
Mr. Hogan and his administration officials obviously understand the finer points of multi-modal transportation solutions.
It’s frustrating that Marc Elrich and many of his friends living in Silver Spring and Takoma Park assume to know what’s best for county residents living in Gaithersburg, Rockville, Germantown, Clarksburg, Poolesville, Darnestown, and Damascus.
Even worse, after nearly 16 years in elected public office, Marc Elrich hasn’t proposed much in the form of traffic relief solutions.
Okay, Mr. County Executive, what’s your plan to mitigate traffic?
Hopefully, the Gaithersburg pothole on Interstate 270 is fixed by the July 4 holiday weekend.
For years, Marc Elrich has ignored commonsense traffic relief proposals.
Do you ever drive Maryland Route 200, the Intercounty Connector?
It makes life so much easier!
Can you guess who opposed the construction of the ICC?
Marc Elrich was one of a few local elected officials at the time who led a fight against the construction of the 18.8-mile-long stretch of highway that now connects Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
Lucky for us, The Washington Post publishes its archives from the early 2000s.
Read about Marc Elrich’s December 2005 attempt at a last-minute roadblock to the ICC.
Marc Elrich’s June 2019 Maryland Board of Public Works Appearance
After taking office in December 2018, County Executive Marc Elrich wasted no time burning a bridge between himself and Gov. Hogan.
(Let’s hope it wasn’t the American Legion bridge.)
Mr. Elrich, a progressive Democrat, hasn’t put much effort into building a constructive relationship with the moderate Republican governor.
In fact, Mr. Elrich, not even six months into his new role as county executive, decided to heckle Mr. Hogan at a June 2019 Board of Public Works meeting.
County Councilman Tom Hucker also spoke at the Board of Public Works meeting on the same day.
Unlike Elrich, Mr. Hucker, the chairman of the County Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee, took a conciliatory approach when sharing his concerns about Mr. Hogan’s traffic relief plan.
Mr. Hucker briefly ran for county executive during the 2022 election cycle but dropped out of the Democratic primary.
He’s running for re-election to the County Council (at large).
77 Votes, And David Blair Would Be County Executive
In 2018, Mr. Blair was one of six Democrats who ran for Montgomery County executive.
Do you remember Montgomery County’s 2018 Democratic executive candidates, in addition to Marc Elrich and David Blair?
- Roger Berliner
- Bill Frick
- Rose Krasnow
- George Leventhal
The June Democratic primary was a real nail-biter!
After all the votes were counted (and recounted), Elrich defeated Blair by only 77 votes.
And the final tally is:
- Elrich: 37,532 votes
- Blair: 37,455 votes
Check out the State Board of Elections website to see Montgomery County’s 2018 election results.
The Secret Ingredient
So, how did Marc Elrich win four countywide elections?
Mr. Elrich has a secret weapon: An inflexible, left-leaning progressive base.
Mr. Elrich’s base, heavily concentrated in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, isn’t persuadable; they’ll never move away from him.
It’s a 5th Avenue kind of thing.
To better understand the mentality of some of Elrich’s more sycophantic loyalists, head over to Montgomery County progressive activist Ed Fischman’s Twitter page.
Have you seen enough?
Now take Ed Fischman’s obsequiousness to Elrich and add 35,521 to it.
That’s how Marc Elrich has won four countywide elections.
You have to wonder if The Washington Post realizes that no matter what its editorial board writes about Marc Elrich, the Elrich base isn’t moving away from him.
It will never happen.
Then again, The Post’s Elrich criticisms almost stuck in 2018 – but the hometown newspaper couldn’t convince 78 people to vote for David Blair.
Next, we’ll take a look at the 2022 county executive candidates.
The 2022 Montgomery County Executive Candidates
- County Executive Marc Elrich;
- Businessman David Blair;
- County Councilman Hans Reimer (Reimer is term-limited and cannot seek re-election to the Council).
- Tech CEO Peter James
- Reardon “Sully” Sullivan
- Shelly Skolnick
What Do The Polls Say About The 2022 Montgomery County Executive Election?
The Washington Post hasn’t released any polling on the 2022 county executive race.
Political polling is virtually nonexistent this election cycle.
The Blair campaign, mostly self-funded by Mr. Blair himself, hasn’t released any polling data showing him leading Mr. Elrich – and that’s probably not by accident.
The Data for Progress Poll Showing Marc Elrich Winning Re-Election
A May 2022 independent poll conducted by Data for Progress, a progressive polling firm, shows County Executive Marc Elrich with a comfortable lead over Blair.
Here’s the background on the poll:
- 529 Montgomery Democrats from May 19-23.
- The respondents were chosen using voter registration data and contacted by cell phone.
- The survey had a 4-point margin of error.
And the results are:
- 33% for Elrich
- 14% for Blair
- 14% for Hans Riemer
- 1 % for Peter James
- 38% undecided
Keep in mind that Data for Progress released a memo explaining how it’s working on updating its polling methodology to ensure its results are as accurate as possible.
Translation: Take the poll seriously and take it with a grain of salt.
Without other polling to compare, it’s clear that David Blair and Hans Riemer are splitting the anti-Elrich vote if you’re reading only the Data for Progress poll for context.
Blair’s 2022 Endorsements
- The Sierra Club
- Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS
- Coalition for Equitable Representation in Government
- County Councilmember Nancy Navarro
- Maryland Senate Majority Leader Nancy King
- District 17 State Senator Cheryl Kagan
- District 15 State Senator Brian Feldman
- City of Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman
- Former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin
- Former Congressional Reps. John Delaney and Michael Barnes
- Former City of Rockville Mayor and 2018 County Executive candidate Rose Krasnow
About David Blair
In 2019, Mr. Blair launched the Council for Advocacy and Policy Solutions, a “nonprofit public policy institute” that educates the Montgomery County community on legislation with local impacts.
From its founding in 1998 through 2012, Mr. Blair served as chairman and chief executive officer of Catalyst Health Solutions Inc., a Fortune 500 company.
By 2006, Catalyst’s revenue more than doubled to $1.3 billion.
SXC Health Solutions acquired Catalyst in 2012 for $4.8 billion.
In 1997, Mr. Blair founded HealthExtras, a Rockville-based company that sold “primary and secondary insurance packages to individuals and small businesses at discounted prices,” according to an article written by The Washington Post.
HealthExtras represented less than 1% of Catalyst’s total aggregate revenues.
The company offered a select group of unique benefits that provided extra protections to individuals.
A Company Inspired By The Late Christopher Reeve
The company’s formation was inspired by late actor Christopher Reeve, known for his television portrayal of Superman.
Mr. Reeve suffered a dramatic injury in 1995 due to a horse-riding accident, leaving him permanently paralyzed.
He believed he had excellent health coverage through his actor’s union but discovered that there was a lifetime limit that he exceeded after a few years of care.
Consequently, Reeve was left without health insurance – even though his medical expenses continued.
Reeve later became the spokesperson for HealthExtras, rooted in his belief that the company’s products were life-altering.
HealthExtras provided excess coverage to its patients – additional coverage over the limits of a standard health or disability plan.
In addition, approximately half a dozen other benefits – including air ambulance services, disability coverage, and organ transplant benefits – were incorporated into the HealthExtras products.
Don’t Forget To Vote
Maryland’s primary election is July 19.
You have until Tuesday, June 28, to register to vote or change your voter registration.
David Blair is one of four Democratic candidates in the 2022 Montgomery County executive race.