Richard “Rich” N. Parsons has recently signed on as campaign manager for Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Floreen’s independent bid for Montgomery County executive.
Parsons, a longtime Montgomery County political strategist, transportation advocate and businessman, is the president and chief executive officer of Parsons & Associates, a consulting company that provides marketing, public relations, fundraising and strategic communication services for corporate, not-for-profit and political organizations in the greater Washington region.
Floreen’s campaign announced this morning that the Montgomery County Board of Elections has certified her candidacy for the November ballot, where she will face off against fellow Montgomery County Councilman Marc Elrich, the Democrat’s nominee for county executive, and Republican and attorney Robin Ficker, who did not face any primary opposition.
Floreen submitted more than 20,000 signatures earlier this month to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. 13,356 of Floreen’s signatures were validated. The four-term councilwoman and former Garrett Park mayor needed to secure signatures from 1 percent of registered voters -7,243 – to qualify for a ballot position.
“I want to thank the Board of Elections for being thorough and patient throughout the process. The petition drive was historic. The demand for a more inclusive choice was fueled by more than 20,000 people in less than a month. We’ve unleashed widespread community support. There’s an obvious and clear desire fore balanced, non-partisan leadership for the County,” Floreen said in a statement today released by her campaign.
Parsons announced in an August 9 email to his network that he was relaunching his public relations and strategic communications consulting firm, which he suspended last year to devote himself fulltime to David Trone’s campaign for Congress in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District.
(Trone won the Democratic nomination for Congressional District 6 on June 26, defeating his closest challenger, state Del. Aruna Miller, who represents District 15 in the Maryland House of Delegates, by nearly ten percentage points in an eight-person primary. The Maryland wine mogul will face off against Republican Amie Hoeber in the November general election.)
Parsons, who lives in Derwood, wrote that he will be “shifting to a part-time consulting role with the Trone campaign and will continue to support his efforts through the general election in that capacity.”
In the same email, Parsons announced he would be “taking on some exciting new projects in the weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned.”
Reacting to the news of Parsons joining Floreen’s campaign, one Montgomery County government official who asked to remain anonymous told A Miner Detail: “Rich is one of the smartest guys in Montgomery County politics. He’s brilliant; he’s strategic; he’s aggressive. Nancy made a smart decision bringing on Rich.”
A political moderate, Parsons is well-connected into the Montgomery County business community, a natural base of support that could boost Floreen in a race against Marc Elrich – who is largely viewed with skepticism and hostility within the Montgomery County business community.
Floreen is positioning herself as a progressive, albeit a center-left independent, drawing a stark contrast to Elrich, whose successful Democratic primary victory included a coalition of progressive activists, unions and anti-development advocates.
In recent weeks, several Montgomery County Democratic activists, mainly through social media, have leveled harsh criticism and invective at Floreen, whom they claim could split the Democratic vote, tilting the election into Ficker’s favor.
Both Floreen and Elrich were term-limited, in large part due to a successful 2016 petition drive to get term limits on the ballot in Montgomery County, led by their Republican general election opponent, Robin Ficker.
Floreen, Elrich or Ficker will succeed longtime Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett. The election will be held on November 6.