County Council Race: The ‘End Gridlock’ Slate

This Montgomery County Council election was arguably the nastiest since a council election 40 years earlier, with the pace of development and growth in the county again at the center of debate.

Pro-development County Executive Doug Duncan, first elected in 1994, faced little opposition in his 2002 bid for a third term. But Duncan moved aggressively to put in place a council aligned with his policies. Thus was born the “End Gridlock” slate of council members Steve Silverman and Michael Subin and newcomers Nancy Floreen and George Leventhal, pursuing four at-large seats. Along with promoting the proposed Inter County Connector highway, the End Gridlock slate also pushed for Duncan’s multibillion dollar “Go Montgomery” proposal to address traffic congestion by building new roads and bridges.

Duncan’s leading foe was at-large council member Blair Ewing, the veteran school board member elected to the council in 1998. Ewing’s rival slate, which included three other at-large candidates, emphasized controlling growth and utilizing mass transit. In mailings to Democratic primary voters, Duncan’s campaign urged Ewing’s ouster. Meanwhile, business groups spent $100,000 promoting the End Gridlock slate, which won on Primary Day. Ewing lost his seat, while another incumbent targeted by Duncan, District 3 council member Phil Andrews, survived. Four years later, Silverman and Subin lost bids for county executive and re-election, respectively, and Marc Elrich, part of the unsuccessful Ewing slate, captured a council seat.

Pictured: Doug Duncan